sitegripes

Terry Gray
July 2012

My biggest frustration with Sites relates to namespace confusion and the quest for "friendly" URLs.

I was reminded of this a month ago when Google hosted Education On Air, and I notice the URL was:
  https://sites.google.com/site/eduonair/

Why does everyone have to type "sites" at the beginning of the URL, and again ("site") in the middle of the URL? 
Would it be impossible to have 
  https://google.com/sites/eduonair/  for example?

With a personal web site supported by Google Apps and Sites, the mapping between the user's personal domain path and the "native" Google Sites URLs can be tricky and confusing.  For example, I can advertise this page as:  http://terrygray.org/sitegripes
which is great; but the native URL is https://sites.google.com/a/terrygray.org/home/sitegripes
Why couldn't it be: https://google.com/a/terrygray.org/sitegripes or https://google.com/
sites/terrygray.org/sitegripes  ??
In other words, there are two levels in the path that seem extraneous.

There are also issues about what gets displayed in the URL display or omnibox of the browser when following links.

A corollary frustration is lack of integration with GDocs.  A new feature that would really help is a page type = Link, which would allow adding a name in one's site URL that would indirect to an arbitrary URL elsewhere.  For example, suppose I want to advertise a GDoc on my Site.  Currently I need to create a dummy page that contains one link to the GDoc.  So lets say I wanted to publish a Gdoc on my site
via the URL "terrygray.org/TestDoc".  The actual GDoc URL is the lovely:

  https://docs.google.com/document/d/1Ehs_vYFXastC3EMof1CarXtfxi2ZlZNv4ikmcCmQNoY/edit

Today I have to create a dummy page called TestDoc, then have one item on that page with the actual ugly link to the GDoc, which is confusing, and forces my viewers into an unnecessary indirection and extra click.  It would be so easy to fix this by creating a LINK page type!  So in addition to having "Web Page", "Annoouncement", "File Cabinet", "List", or "Start Page", add a new option called "Link".  This gives me control over my URL namespace and permits a clean way of referencing external objects.  In particular, it allows nice integration with GDocs (or lots of other things).

Questions or comments to:  comments@terrygray.org