[HCS-D]url brevity (fwd: Re: URGENT HRC list)

Greg Westin westin at hcs.harvard.edu
Thu Dec 23 01:54:10 EST 2004


As the former Hippocratic Society webmaster, and the person who set this
up, I have to say that it's ridiculously easy.  But it still requires
giving people instructions about using an outside service, rather than
just having them point their domain to us.

Greg
---
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On Tue, 21 Dec 2004, Gregory Price wrote:

> I was telling someone how tildes are hard to get across to users in URLs.
>
> My example always used to be how when Scott Golder made a `Dialect
> Survey' for a linguistics professor and stuck it in hcs/~golder, and
> then the survey got written up in newspapers nationwide, HCS got at
> least a dozen emails from confused folks who couldn't find the page.
> Some of them said they'd typed in hcs.harvard.edu/-golder/blah just
> like it said in the paper; others other things wrong, many not
> explaining how they'd failed.  And for every user that complains, ten
> others didn't take the trouble...
>
> And even Matt can forget the list-request form's URL.
>
>
> The immediate lesson is we should give the list-request form a nice URL like
>
>   hcs.harvard.edu/mailing-list
>
> that people can read in the Crimson or hear from a friend and
> remember.  Suggestions invited; I'd like the bit after the / to sound
> as canonical as possible, so if you hear it you don't later wonder
> which of three very similar things it was.
>
>
> The broader lesson is that we should give our users nicer URLs too.
> Say,
>
>   hcs.harvard.edu/mygroup
>
> rather than
>
>   hcs.harvard.edu/~mygroup
>
> .  (MIT does a variant of this; web.mit.edu/username is your home
> directory, and web.mit.edu/username/www your by-convention actual web
> directory.)
>
>
> Better yet,
>
>   mygroup.hcs.harvard.edu
>
> or
>
>   mygroups-outside-registered-domain.org
>
> which each require lobbying work.  The former needs us to control a
> DNS zone, and the latter needs us to figure out why they don't want
> outside domains resolving to Harvard IPs and then figure out how to
> address that.
>
>
> The latter sort of works now; e.g.,
>
>   http://harvardgleeclub.org
>
> gives a redirect to hcs.harvard.edu/~hgc/.  But then the browser calls
> it hcs.harvard.edu/~hgc/.
>
> The Hippocratic Society has it working nicely:
>
>   http://hippocraticsociety.org
>
> serves up a frameset referring to a page on their HCS account, and
> links point to locations back on the hippocraticsociety.org site,
> which give new framesets identical but for pointing to different
> subpages.  I wonder how much work/expense that was for them...
>
>
> Thoughts?
>
>
>                 Gregory
>


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