Stephen Downes

Knowledge, Learning, Community

Hash URIs

Jeni Tennison, Jeni's Musings, May 16, 2011

If you think you're beginning to get a feel for this whole web thing, don't get comfortable. A series of debates over the use of "hashbang urls" shows you just how complex the web is becoming. Here's the issue, in a nutshell: if, instead of pointing your browser to http://twitter.com/downes you point it to http://twitter.com/#!/downes you are sending a request to twitter.com and storing "!/downes" in your browser's memory; this information is then used by an application on Twitter's site to send an AJAX response. Twitter does this because it reduces the load on the site, which is smart, but it's a lot less robust, which is not smart. The technique is called "JavaScript routing" and because it breaks many of the conventions of the web and URLs, the use of hashbang urls has sparked a widespread debate among developers. Tim Bray has posted probably the main argument against their use.

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Stephen Downes Stephen Downes, Casselman, Canada
stephen@downes.ca

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