Justin Hall's personal site growing & breaking down since 1994

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How you structure your site is of critical importance both to those who would navigate it, and you who build it. Keep in mind a few simple tips, and you won't have to change your links around so often.
These tips are especially relevant if you manage a large site, but remember, every site starts somewhere. It might as well be somewhere easy to figure out!

use directories

When you have content that can be grouped, say a poetry subsection, or a collection of link pages, 'tis better to throw the pages together in their own subdirectory.

Filenames like

Fewer files to wade through in your master directory, everything easy to find in its particular place.

par exemplo:

I started a page about my dad as /vita/fam/dad.html. I wanted to link directly to the poetry I've written about him, say /vita/fam/dad.holiness.html.

Since I had many works to post about him, I decided to make for him a subdirectory


and the poem is


You can tell exactly what's going on by looking at that URL. Something in my life section, about my family, specifically my Dad, and his holiness.

When someone wants to know what holiness.html is related to, they can link to /vita/fam/dad/ and get the index.html in that directory.

resource subdirectories

I've started putting my resource files in the relevant subdirectories.

Pictures of Howard are in


When I need to call a graphic in file about Howard (say /vita/hlr/greenhouse.html), the URL is

<img src="pix/>

Because the links are relative, if I ever want to move Howard's stuff around, I move /vita/hlr/ with the pix/ subdirectory and I don't have to change a single picture link within my Howard files.

Easy for me to remember, and it keeps my Howard stuff out of the fray. I probably have over a hundred pictures at this site. Keeping them all in one directory would be maddening.

My friend Jonathan favours capital letters for subdirectries: i.e. Images/, to differentiate between files and directories.

I don't like capital lettors in filenames at all, my default is pix for pictures in subdirectories.


short file names

Just because you can have long names don't mean you should. Keep your URLs as short and logical as possible, with subdirectories and extensions.

/documents becomes /dox
/pictures/ becomes /pix
Find common abbreviations that differentiate within a short file name framework:

I have some pictures of some folks, a thumbnail and some larger versions:

the tiny thumbnail is

the larger picture is

.ty is tiny
.sm is small
.md is medium
.lg is large
.hg is huge

easy to figure out, and it sorts reverse alphabetically too!

Remember when you are dealing with file names and extensions that it is best to defer to the lower case. In the language of the net, CAPITAL LETTERS ARE TANTAMOUNT TO SHOUTING. lower case is the default; in speech, and in navigation.

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