Just as with software engineering, this means that Interfaces need to be separated from Implementation such that the Interface can be stable even when the Implementation changes. So, URLs should be designed and specified independently of which host machine, programming language, web framework, etc are used to implement the site because those will change over time.
Some web sites have embraced this notion in part by providing "permalinks", but unfortunately, it is often only the current version of the item to which it refers. Earlier drafts, editions, revisions that were published (and cited in magazines, books, other web sites) are not retrievable even with permalinks.
|POSTSCRIPT - Jan 3th, 2009|
|Off and on over the history of the web, many have advocated giant internet archival sites to solve the problem of stable URLs to frozen data. It can be seen in retrospect that this has not worked because:|
a) Many archival sites have died, collapsing under the sheer weight of data
b) without a stable URL scheme implemented by each web site, one still doesn't know how to get to the latest version of a web page versus the version that existed 3 years ago.
|POSTSCRIPT - May 12th, 2009|
|There is a new book out by Dan Bricklin that republishes his 10 years worth of blogs. He talks about this very problem in his book and this interview. He praises archive.org which is the new location of the archives that search engines once linked to directly on their search results.|
|POSTSCRIPT - April 20th, 2010|
|There is a new program on ITC Conversations that talks about yet another new proposal to fix the problem of the web having no time dimension...i.e. no way to say "show me cnn.com as it looked 6 months ago". See http://itc.conversationsnetwork.org/shows/detail4456.html|