Thursday, October 01, 2009

World's Ugliest URLs

I live outside the city of Monmouth, Oregon (beneath the Western Skies, of course). Our city's official website has URLs like:{F6D36CB4-8AB1-4E2F-9F16-EEB14A3A83DD} - Things to See & Do{6010A930-F666-42AF-A359-971AC53933A1} - City Government

OK, maybe they're not the ugliest in the world, but those bad boys have gotta rank way up there. Anyway, when I first heard Jacob Kaplan-Moss talk about pretty URLs in Django, I thought some of criticisms were a little nit-picky. Initially, I didn't see anything wrong with index.php, but I could see the basic point even before seeing Monmouth's URLs. When I converted the Evergreen Terrace Farms site from PHP to Django, cleaning up the URLs was something I was pleased with. For example, became So, I guess I have drunk the Kool-Aide, and I have become a bit of a URL snob.

Regardless of how picky you are about URLs, I think any sane person would agree that those URLs for the Monmouth site are just crazy. Just imagine trying to read one of those to your mom over the phone - "no, it's 42AF, and the A and the F are capitalized."

In my opinion, the saddest thing is that the site is a commercial product created by a company that boasts about how many governments they've sold it to. It would be one thing if some students created something like that for a senior project, but when you're charging people money for something like that you should at least not expose the ugliest of the ugly Microsoft crap from the depths of the implementation (I assume those are UUIDs generated by .Net). I guess I'm also disappointed that no one in the city even noticed those URLs before putting out taxpayer money.


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