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I am in the early stages of a web site where I post every week. each post has a file. I thought it was better not to include the date in the name of the file and that makes the url the same way. I try to make the content timeless. This way a user can find an old post and realize that can be useful today.

But now I find this method has some drawbacks, I find more and more difficult to get my files organized. Can you suggest a good way to organize files-posts, have timeless content and clean url at the same time?

(I program everything myself, I do not use wordpress, drupal...)

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    Not putting a date next to the content, doesn't make the content timeless, nor does putting a date next to make it contemporary. How relevant content really is, will turn out in the future. You can't decide this on forehand. Let me illustrate this with technical documentation. The latest TCP IP protocol is developed in the 80's and its documentation is still relevant today. But if we look at the HTML language, version 3.2 is developed in the late 90's and is almost completely irrelevant today. – Ruudt May 8 '15 at 12:42
  • Do you have problems organizing the files for you to work with, or problems with organizing the pages your visitors see? – unor May 9 '15 at 11:28
  • @unor. Organizing the files for me – Nrc May 17 '15 at 8:10
  • @Ruudt. This is a good point and I agree with you. But this is not what I am asking – Nrc May 17 '15 at 8:13
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First, it's not clear whether you consider difficult for you or for your users. If organization is a problem for you (but users don't necessarily see this as a problem), then you could easily use a date based folder structure and then re-write URLs so your users can't see the dates.

As for the outcome, you don't provide any info, but depending on the content, your users may like to have a date, whether it's in the URL or the body of the post. It's really annoying to find something on the web and then find out it's totally outdated, thus false. Be very honest about this, because everybody tends to think their content is timeless, and very few are right about this. And once an user finds one page in your site is irrelevant and outdated, you lose that user forever.

But of course, if your content is REALLY timeless, then rewrite URLs using .htaccess and problem solved (although some categorization might be useful, both for you and your users)

  • +1 for using a date-based folder structure and rewriting/generating different URLs for the published site, as the OP confirmed that it’s about organizing the files while developing, not organizing the pages on the website. – unor May 17 '15 at 11:23
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One solution is sorting posts by category. The url structure can be like this:

domain/category-name/post-title

Side note: Many times it's really useful to know when something was written. Or to even occasionally review and update. For example programming related articles.

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    or an increasing number like stackoverflow is using (to avoid enforcing unique titles) ux.stackexchange.com/questions/78486/date-in-the-url – Gustav May 8 '15 at 13:16
  • @Gustav: That number: 78486 is a real folder or there is another way to put that? – Nrc May 8 '15 at 13:56
  • @Freelancer: category is a good option. But inside each category will soon be a mess again when there is a lot of files there. More subcategories inside is not a good option as is even more complicated and if created later I will need to link again all files – Nrc May 8 '15 at 14:00
  • @Nrc I would expect not, but implementation details are better handled at stackoverflow.com/questions/5678831/… – Gustav May 8 '15 at 14:32
  • @Nrc: if you're creating a database driven website, I don't see this being an issue, as articles would be pulled from database and pages would be created dynamically, they wouldn't exist as actual files. Even if you go with the approach where every article is a file (a static webpage), and you split things into subcategories/subfolders, I don't see how the number of files could become an issue any time soon. – CodeVirtuoso May 8 '15 at 16:03
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No content is timeless.

Ok, now that we've got that out of the way, as a journalist one of my pet peeves has always been dates. I want to know when something was published, edited, or even deleted. Because often the value of the content is based on when, not how.

For example, I recently had to update an Android phone that I previously rooted. I couldn't just update it normally, I had to do it the hard way. And Android updates frequently, so the process to do this changes too. Most of the articles that explain how to do it at older, so my search is time-based.

Now I don't know what kind of content you're creating but having a time stamp is important. I personally prefer it in the URL because it doesn't hurt the user (few people ever type in direct URLs for articles), and it helps you as the content manager. And some readers who want to know the date can do it really easily without scanning through the entire article. TechCrunch does that and I love it.

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