Help talk:Permanent link

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Is oldid unique?[edit]

It seems oldid must not be unique, since you have to tell it the fullpagename. Is it unique per namespace at least? I should probably go to MediaWiki for this question.

Oh, BTW, please mention {{permalink}} in the lead? — CpiralCpiral 23:06, 1 April 2013 (UTC)

It is unique. Provided the oldid is valid, the shorter URL http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=NNNNNNN has the same effect. The title is needed so that the software can return a better error message if the oldid refers to a page that has been deleted - compare http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?oldid=999359171 with http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Wikipedia:Help_desk&oldid=999359171.
I think this page is aimed at readers, not editors, so it wouldn't be appropriate to mention the templates that format oldids. -- John of Reading (talk) 06:29, 2 April 2013 (UTC)
The audience is readers, OK. Great.
The URL missing the ?title parameter says it was "Main page". Maybe the deleted pages always say "Main page". Now I wonder if the software has the oldids in circular files that enact a delayed reuse. (BTW, I found at Help:URL#URLs_of_Wikipedia_pages they say explicitly Note that the version ID is unique across all pages, so the title parameter here has no effect, and can in fact be omitted.) In any case, thank you. — CpiralCpiral 00:12, 3 April 2013 (UTC)

URL format[edit]

The actual URLs of permanent links to Wikipedia pages (provided by Wikipedia software) have the following long form (including an example):

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title={some-title}&oldid={some-old-id}

http://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Portable_Network_Graphics&oldid=585254471

rather than the [short form:]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/{some-title}?oldid={some-old-id}

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Portable_Network_Graphics?oldid=585254471

The short form saves 13 characters. For instance, I use it in programming documentation because often its lines are limited in length.

I'm sure it's more humanly readable because the page title is found in the main part of the URL instead of in the options part after the question mark. Besides, all other things being equal, short URLs beat long URLs in terms of user experience.

I notice that the short form isn't browser-redirected to the long form. Therefore the short form is no less efficient in terms of HTTP (I'm sure).

There may be URL *rewrites* happening locally in Wikipedia's webserver software (such as Apache) but I'm sure its processing time is *extremely* trivial, relatively speaking. Presumably, furthermore, since most people don't use permanent links, they must only be a *very* tiny fraction of all the web requests to Wikipedia.

Any (hypothetical) extra computer time (spent automatically rewriting the URLs of permanent links) is especially unimportant, relative to the time human beings will spend reading (and cutting and pasting) these permanent link URLs.

Of course, when a person makes a decision to use a permanent link, it is for a special, human purpose such as making a written document. Therefore, many people actually will read these URL strings as text (at least briefly).

Unquestionably, both forms should continue to work when submitted by browsers.

I assume Wikipedia has some good reason to continue to choose the long form when its viewers request new permanent links.

As a programmer, I wonder what that reason is? Please tell me. If there is no advantage, could Wikipedia switch please to supplying the short form?
Georgesawyer (talk) 22:32, 13 December 2013 (UTC)