Movable Type Entry URL Choices

Some people using Movable Type use the entry titles for the individual entry URLs, which is also what I do for Brainstorms and Raves. This can be a fine solution toward the friendly URL idea; however, a potential disadvantage is that the URL can get unreasonably long, as I’ve especially seen with more than a few of my pre-Movable Type posts. I’ve been scouting around for a way to either provide the entry URL myself or at least shorten the entry-title-based URL.

It’s possible to make the individual entry URL the first __ number of characters from the entry title. This approach shortens the longer URLs, but it could create URLs with cut off words at the end, too, something I’d prefer to avoid. I’d settle for the first __ number of words, though. That might be a workable compromise if I could find a way to do that.

I noticed that Mark Pilgrim managed something for a shorter title approach, as you can see with his post the other day, How to install Windows XP in 5 hours or less. Notice the entry title part of the URL is just “xp” and not the entire entry title? Now that’s more like it.

Keywords for URL?

Mark may have used keywords for the entry title, as described via MovableBLOG’s post Sunday, Plugins Work in Archive File Templates. MovableBLOG’s Richard Eriksson shows a way to use Movable Type keywords and Brad Choate’s MTIfEmpty plugin. The individual entry URL will be generated from the post’s keywords and if no keywords exist for a particular entry the entry title will then be used for the URL instead. The author can optionally input each post’s keywords into the keywords field within Movable Type. I tested this approach with my test blog and it works beautifully.

I could in essence create a URL just by designating a keyword or three. Does freedom of choice return or does it just look that way?

Are Keywords for URLs as Wonderful as They Appear?

What are the disadvantages to using keywords for the entry title URL?

  • I might end up with long URLs again, of course, that make even less sense than the post title URLs.
  • I’m not utilizing keywords in any other way yet but if I want to take advantage of that feature and add more keywords to entries my post URLs could become a nightmare. Thinking about that doesn’t sound fun.
  • I really don’t want to rely on an MT tag designated for something else to create hopefully permanent URLs. That’s what I’m already doing with the entry title URLs and I’m not so sure that exchanging one for another one is really the answer.

Thinking through the keywords approach has caused me to pause and reconsider. I’m not as excited about this as I was when I first read about it and tested it. Trying to think about potential problems, though, is critical.

The disadvantages may not even exist for some uses, though, and this approach may in fact be ideal for many folks. Since I have no idea how I may use MT’s keywords feature in the coming months, though, I’d better take a conservative approach and not jump in right now.

My Ideal for MT Entry URLs

In my ideal MT individual entry URL world I’d be able to create my own individual entry URLs if I wish. If I don’t provide my own, MT could default to the entry title for the URL or something else if the user has another preference.

The individual entry’s URL wouldn’t rely on MT’s entry title, keywords, or Entry ID. Instead the URL designation could be its own unique MT tag with user choices, and possible defaults could kick in as I mentioned above.

I could live with that just fine.


If anyone knows of a plugin, macro, or way to accomplish this with MT without having to rely on MT’s entry title, keywords or something else, please let me know—respond via the Comments for this post, the Contact form, or by email. So far I haven’t found any plugin magicians out there who’ve created something like this.

08:42 am, pdt12 August, 2003 Comments, Trackbacks (2) ·';}?>

Categories: Colophon, Information Architecture, Movable Type, Weblogs


Comments, Trackbacks: 2 so far. Add yours!

  1. I'm quite happily using Windows XP since March 2002 with no problems. Dive into Mark has put the fear of Bill Gates into me with his entry on <a href="http://diveintom...

    12 Aug, 2003Trackback from Diaphanus v3

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  2. Friendly, lasting URLs are easy enough to manage when you create the site architecture and URLs yourself, but with the increasing popularity of weblogs and content management programs there's been increasing interest in what can be done to ensure frien...

    28 Sep, 2003Trackback from Brainstorms and Raves

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