Two quick announcements this week.
1: A home for short posts
I’ve started a microblog at https://ap.sorenbjornstad.com.
ap stands for
attopublish, the mini-site builder that I’m developing
concurrently with writing on the microblog.)
The purpose is twofold. First, I’m publishing new stuff in a lot of places nowadays: here, my YouTube channel, my Zettelkasten, etc. For folks who want to follow all or part of it, this is a lot of places to check, and many people are missing some of it. I plan to put a link on the microblog every time I publish something, so people only have to check one place (you can also subscribe via RSS if you like).
Second, since I quit using Facebook, I’ve noticed I sometimes want to quickly share interesting things I’ve read or experienced with a general audience, and I currently have no place to do this. The microblog will be this place.
2: Short URLs: faster, better, stronger
I’ve changed the URL scheme for posts on this blog.
Previously URLs were
followed by the name of the category the post was in,
followed by an often rather long description of the post
(sometimes the entire title, separated by hyphens).
In the new scheme,
the category section is removed,
and I will make the description as short as reasonably possible,
ideally just one word.
- Old URL:
- New URL:
Why this change?
- The extra words are unnecessary. Why use lots of words when a couple will do? If you’re on the page, you can see the title; if you’re not on the page (e.g., you’re hovering over the link somewhere else), a short word or two still says just about everything you can figure out about the link target without going to the site. And the category is on the page in the metadata section, where you’d look if you wanted to find more similar posts, which is the only reason to bother with categories in the first place.
- It’s easier to type shorter URLs and easier to remember them, to the point that it makes new, efficient workflows feasible. I wouldn’t have bothered trying to remember the old URL or ask someone to type it to find the page; I’ll totally consider it with the new URL.
- You don’t have to change the URL if you later decide to change the category or reorganize your site; presumably the core idea of the page as expressed in a word or two will always remain the same, or it would be a different page.
- I only changed the URLs this morning, and I already feel like the posts have been crystallized in my head by the new, concise names I can remember (see Idea API). I’ve experienced this with my Zettelkasten for several years, and it’s great to see it extending to my other writing.
- More thoughts on short URLs from Derek Sivers.
The only downside I can think of is losing slight SEO potential; to my knowledge, most search engines rank the content of a URL somewhat. I highly doubt that this is a significant issue, especially since having legible URLs is often a ranking bonus.
I’ve added redirection metadata to all posts, so the old URLs will continue to work indefinitely. If you spot anything broken, please let me know!