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#1 09.04.2018 12:12:31

digitalbricks
Member

Removal of /pages directory

Hello florian,

thanks for your explanation – also concerning the additional snippets available!

Well, i am "removing" the /pages directory since WB 2.8.1 (I think) and never ran into any issues with that – unless that one described with OneForAll. Before, the existing of pages in the URL segments was always (!) criticised when it comes to an SEO audit of a site. So i ommitted the use of the  /pages directory for all projects on WB(CE) base realized over the last years.

I will give the shortURL snippet a try as alternative to ommitting the /pages directory. But, when I remember correctly, there was a notice in a changelog of a recent WBCE version, that you stopped shipping short.php and the accordingly .htaccess because of some issues arising when using that snippet?

Greetings
André

Last edited by digitalbricks (09.04.2018 12:13:10)

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#2 09.04.2018 12:36:12

florian
Projektmanagement und Support WBCE CMS

Re: Removal of /pages directory

We stopped shipping ShortURL, because it does not work out of the box, e.g. if you miss to call the shortURL Droplet in your template, you run into problems with some modules. Also, the 404 error handling needs to be configured manually and is not compatible with other modules which aim to handle 404 errors.

Which should not be read as "shortURL does not work" of course! It's a great module, but you have to know what you're doing and it's better to read the instructions and then decide to install it than shipping it and causing hazzle because of incomplete implematation.

This is offtopic, but the length of the URL is one of many, many other factors. So if you have a site which cares for other SEO factors, like keywords, text structure, backlinks, metadata etc. I'm pretty sure all this won't be in vain just because of a "/pages" in the URL.
The worries of removing the /pages directory might be outdated though, I thought the main issue about this is overwriting the config.php by a page called "Config" and so on, but I just checked it and when trying to create pages called "config", "admin", "media" and so on at least WBCE 1.3 does not allow this but shows an error message "A page with this title already exists". But as seen, some modules might have issues with that and need to be fixed manually.

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#3 09.04.2018 15:28:56

cwsoft
Developer

Re: Removal of /pages directory

digitalbricks wrote:

Well, i am "removing" the /pages directory since WB 2.8.1 (I think) and never ran into any issues with that – unless that one described with OneForAll.

Then you are a lucky guy. There were several issues reported in the WB Forum between WB 2.7 and 2.8.x dealing with modules not working properly (due to hard coded /pages folder). Some users also corrupted their entire WB installation as they created a page called Index. In older WB Versions, this had overwritten the WB main index.php file and lead to corrupted WB intallations. There were other corner edges as well I can´t remember right now.

However, as it´s fine to rename the /pages Folder, but the WB/WBCE Settings should prevent users from Setting /pages to an empty string due to the issues mentioned above.

Rewriting URLs for the sake of CEO is and was the domain of .htaccess (Apache Server) or modules like short_url, which in fact requires .htaccess to do the job.

Cheers cwsoft

Last edited by cwsoft (09.04.2018 15:40:58)


Ich bin dann mal weg.

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#4 09.04.2018 16:04:48

losttrip
Member

Re: Removal of /pages directory

Just my two cents.  I too omitted the /pages directory on dozens of sites I built on 2.8.1>, and never had any issues... until WB2.11RC testing.

Over the years I was involved in many threads/debates about the implications of removing the /pages directory (you can find them by searching the WB Forum, or PM me for links), and as Florian said, most severe warnings were about the possibility of accidentally overwriting a core folder when adding a new page with the same name.  And I defended that this was not possible because of the warning Florian mentioned.  Further, those who criticized the removal of the /pages directory, promoted ShortURL, and I pointed out that using ShortURL also does not allow you to create pages with the same name as a core folder (you also get the "A page with this title already exists" warning).  So, at the end of all these discussions, the only real defense I ever found for keeping the /pages directory was that it keeps your installation folder organized and tidy.  And I am not downplaying the benefit of that, but it was never an issue for me to have a few extra folders and files in my installation directory, as that was just what I was used to.

That said, once I tried Ruud's ShortURL, I have used it for all installs since.  Using ShortURL does demand a bit more manual effort (especially when you shuffle sites back and forth between the live server and local development like I do), but like anything, once you're used to the process it becomes automatic.  The bonus is that if you do ever run into an issue, Ruud is one of the most professional and respectful people I have interacted with since I started using WB(CE).  He definitely is a diamond in the rough at the WB Forum.

Anyway, back to the "... until WB2.11RC testing" part.  I began running into issues when testing WB 2.11 and it was determined that they were caused by my lack of a /pages directory.  I was told privately and subsequently less directly in the public forum that the developer simply said that it was my problem because although you can remove the /pages directory, you should not.  I submitted my stance that if that is the case, then it should have been made clear in ALL previous versions, where the option to remove the /pages directory was presented freely and without warning.  And since that was the case, it should be the developer's responsibility to support those who chose that option.  I never got any answer, and as far as I know the developer is now gone.  And as Florian stated, I got the feeling that I was a bit of an island, as I do not think a lot of people remove the /pages directory.  At least I never heard from many (if any) when I tried to find some support.  And that might be the strongest reason for leaving the /pages directory alone and using ShorlURL.  If it is recommended and the norm to have the /pages directory intact, then it stands to reason that future module/snippet developers might expect this, and so you stand a better chance of not running into issues moving forward.

Hope this helps.

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#5 09.04.2018 16:08:44

losttrip
Member

Re: Removal of /pages directory

cwsoft wrote:

However, as it´s fine to rename the /pages Folder, but the WB/WBCE Settings should prevent users from Setting /pages to an empty string due to the issues mentioned above.

thumb_up  I agree 100%.  This is the check which should have always been in place.

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#6 09.04.2018 16:44:09

florian
Projektmanagement und Support WBCE CMS

Re: Removal of /pages directory

I have created a new thread for this topic (since it has nothing to do with OneForAll any more) and open an issue on Github.

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#7 09.04.2018 20:31:18

digitalbricks
Member

Re: Removal of /pages directory

Woohooo ... what have I started? ;-)

So at first, let me say, you run open doors when you say, the /pages URL segment is not that much relevant for SEO – compared to the relevance of the content. But I created a number of WB sites for agencies who had their own or contracted SEO guy with their SEO checklists and they always said "Kick the /pages from the URLs". So, even if it is not relevant for SEO, it is relevant for my clients and thus relevant for me. So, well, i don't have a good feeling if you are planning to take this "feature" (removing the string from the settings) away. It's okay to add a warning above this settings, but please do not disable it.

I only had contact with four other WB(CE) users (in terms of web development) over the time and all of them ommitted the pages directory. So, in my information bubble it's an average of 100%. Of course, this is not representative - but out there ARE users whose first step on all new WB(CE) installations is to get rid of the pages directory.

Wouldn't it not be better and – in long time view – more future proof the implement URL rewriting into the WBCE core? These .php access files are remnants of a time where many shared server didn't mod_rewrite enabled, which isn't the case nowadays. All modern CMS rely on URL rewriting today.

Yes, you could argue again with module incompatibilities ... but, to be honest, a considerable amount of modules aren't active maintained already today and will propably break within the next PHP release. Therefore, the number of useable modules will decrease either way.

Just my thoughts.

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#8 09.04.2018 20:45:47

florian
Projektmanagement und Support WBCE CMS

Re: Removal of /pages directory

Basically, you are right and I do understand your position. Me and my clients are not so happy with the /pages and the .php suffix neither, and shortURL is, to be honest, just a workaround. And yes, I have to confess that the module provider situation is not as positive as I would like (but please be aware that - afaik - it's not better at WB).
On the other hand, getting rid of the access files and just relying on .htaccess means a complete turnaround of the WBCE core. It's easier to be written than done, especially if you want to keep a minimum of backward compatibility.
There are efforts to a only .htaccess / mod_rewrite driven system at our partner CMSses BlackCat CMS and (I guess) NeoFlow CMS, but - again afaik - they have not reached a stable state yet. So maybe somewhen WBCE will switch over to mod_rewrite driven structure too, but this won't happen in the near future definitively.

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#9 18.06.2018 12:02:26

webbird
Developer

Re: Removal of /pages directory

As a developer of BC I can say it is not easy to get rid of the pages folder, so this is nothing that should be rushed. For BC2, we have a strict separation of "engine" and "pages" and no access files anymore, but as Florian said, we do not have a stable release yet.

For WBCE, this *may* be "the" new feature for 1.4 or 1.5, but it's not an easy thing and may break several modules. (Though I can imagine that there could be a workaround by using an .htaccess to forward requests that go to /pages.)


Some people just need a high-five. In the face. With a chair.

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