[RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

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Louis7777
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[RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by Louis7777 » Fri May 02, 2014 8:56 am

This RFC steps on the following:
Description
--------------

Hide or stop advertising the f variable in topic URLs. That is to say, remove it from the links at viewforum and by extension from viewtopic. Example:

Use http://domain.com/viewtopic.php?t=15135 instead of http://domain.com/viewtopic.php?f=1121&t=15135

(looks similar to YouTube's links, doesn't it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dQw4w9WgXcQ)


Justification
---------------

The URLs still work even if you manually remove the forum id. They still work without it, even for global announcements. All actions continue to work: the post reply, all the topic tools, all the mod tools (move topic etc.). I'd like us to mention and discuss any cases where it is needed to GET the forum id, if there are any. Because if there aren't any issues, then I believe it would be beneficial to hide it.


Usefulness
-------------

First, like with YouTube videos, the URL meaning becomes even more obvious, more human readable: viewtopic.php?t=15135 --> "I'm viewing topic #15135".

Secondly, "page rank". The concern of the OP at Why forum variable is in URL? was that when "we move this topic in another forum" its URL changes, and as a result it loses its ranking in the search engines. However, if the topic's URL only depended on the topic ID, it would be easy to transfer the topics to another forum (under the same domain) without worrying about losing their PR.

Currently, the difficulty of transfering forums and posts is a major blocker for upgrading a phpBB installation.

For example, lets say that a phpBB 2.0 owner wants to start fresh with phpBB 3.1 without losing his users and the ranking of his topics. There are ways to transfer the users and maintain their e-mails, usernames and their password hashes. But what about the topics? It could be as simple as copying the old content, creating a new topic and then tampering with the topic ID in the database. That way he could save all of his top ranked topics.

Furthermore, we could add a canonical link element to the page header for this format viewtopic.php?f=xxx&t=15135 to point to its canonical viewtopic.php?t=15135.

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PayBas
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by PayBas » Fri May 02, 2014 10:09 am

If there are no obvious technical drawbacks to this... +1

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EXreaction
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by EXreaction » Fri May 02, 2014 12:01 pm

Seems reasonable to me to drop f= from the url.

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Kamahl19
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by Kamahl19 » Fri May 02, 2014 12:21 pm

I never understood why there is f= parameter in phpBB3. Totally useless

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PayBas
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by PayBas » Fri May 02, 2014 12:34 pm

Kamahl19 wrote:I never understood why there is f= parameter in phpBB3. Totally useless
Perhaps for the die-hard mods, that know all the forum-ids by heart. ;)

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paulus Online
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by paulus » Fri May 02, 2014 12:52 pm

Kamahl19 wrote:I never understood why there is f= parameter in phpBB3. Totally useless
In 3.0 it was required for global announcements.
Image

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Louis7777
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by Louis7777 » Fri May 02, 2014 1:00 pm

paulus wrote:In 3.0 it was required for global announcements.
Well, this is a global announcement:

https://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopi ... 99&t=30432
https://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=30432

It can be accessed with or without the f=

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paulus Online
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by paulus » Fri May 02, 2014 1:09 pm

Louis7777 wrote:
paulus wrote:In 3.0 it was required for global announcements.
Well, this is a global announcement:

https://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopi ... 99&t=30432
https://area51.phpbb.com/phpBB/viewtopic.php?t=30432

It can be accessed with or without the f=
Yes, like I said, in 3.0 it was required. This board runs on 3.1
Image

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Louis7777
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by Louis7777 » Fri May 02, 2014 1:24 pm

paulus wrote:Yes, like I said, in 3.0 it was required. This board runs on 3.1
Well, I don't know in what way it was required, but below there's a global announcement from a 3.0 forum that I chose from the phpBB showcase:

https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=113882
https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?f=2&t=113882
https://forum.videolan.org/viewtopic.php?t=113882

As you can see, you can access the same global announcement using different forum IDs and of course without any forum ID in place.

I also know a highly modified phpBB 2.0 forum with more than 3 million registrations which has dropped the f=. It's W***z-BB - if you know which one I mean you can go check it out.. :)

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PayBas
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Re: [RFC] Hide forum (f) variable from topic url

Post by PayBas » Fri May 02, 2014 1:41 pm

Perhaps it was necessary for the quick-mod tools or something.

Regardless, if it's no longer needed in 3.1, then we should think about removing it (assuming most will agree).

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