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You could argue it's instead like a built-in GPS that doesn't display your exact latitude and longitude - precise information about your location that is interesting, but usually not useful, since you have to take roads/links to actually get from point A to point B.



Most URLs are human-readable enough that I think street addresses make a better analogy.

Latitude/longitude would be more like IP addresses and HTTP headers. They require some technical knowledge to use and understand, but they're still quite human-readable unlike raw GPS signals or ethernet frames.

(As an aside, most GPS units also display the altitude. I live in a mountainous region, so I often make use of this figure.)


> Most URLs are human-readable enough that I think street addresses make a better analogy.

I'd like that to be true, but I think we lost that battle a long time ago. Google results aren't a readable URL; nor are products on Amazon or Ebay or anywhere else I can think of. Newspaper-type URLs are often "fake human-readable"; the URL is something like http://somepaper.com/12345-Local-Man-Found , but in fact http://somepaper.com/12345-Local-Man-Still-Missing will give you exactly the same story. Even HN stories aren't human-readable, just an opaque id number.


I agree about Google and Amazon's long and cryptic query strings.

But I don't think "fake human-readable" URLs break the analogy with physical addresses. There are many different ways of writing the same address:

    987 Some Avenue West, Unit 123, Brooklyn, New York, NY 12345-6789
    Unit 123, 987 W. Some Ave., New York 12345
    123-987 Some Av W, NYC, NY
Some are more correct than others, and there's probably a canonical version that USPS wants everyone to use. But at the end of the day, a letter addressed to any of the above will be delivered to the same apartment. And of course all the numbers above are "opaque id numbers".


If you meant to send a letter to "The Foundry, 28 Some Street" and instead put 26, the postman would probably deliver it to the right place. Not so with these fake human-readable URLs.

And the numbers aren't just opaque identifiers (except for the zip), at least if you're walking down the street: you know that 28 is next to 26, opposite-ish 27, and halfway to 56. There's nothing that corresponds to walking along the street on a website.




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