Links as Code

John Willis’ “Infrastructure as Code” should be a startling epiphany for anyone who has long neglected process and people in favor of technological solutions. Yet, I hope anyone here doesn’t need convincing about the validity of institutionalizing the collective knowledge

However, I wonder about a critical level of infrastructure maintenance that seems to be missed, document maintenance.

I’m sure everyone has experienced the frustration of reading a document with an invalid URL, but is this be accepted?

Should documents not be kept in repositories as well? Why not take the same proactive approach to maintaining links as we do “Not breaking the Build” when programming?

So why doesn’t your team have a utility to scan internal documents and links when they propose changing page structures, before they’re made live?

About jay

I'm trying to build something interactive where I can learn from others and hopefully share useful knowledge too. thecapacity@gmail.com
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4 Responses to Links as Code

  1. Super-Duper website! I am loving it!! Will come back again again – taking you feeds also, Thanks.
    Hello. Terrific task. I didn’t anticipate this on the Wednesday. This is really a fantastic story. Thanks!

  2. CT says:

    Dan,
    I of course think wiki’s are great but I don’t think they buy you any kind of ultimate solution unless you run your entire site on them and always let them manage the inter-dependencies.

    I was referring more towards print, or print-able, objects but I consider wiki’s to just defer the problem.

    If you add a link to a wiki that points to a page on your site, perhaps “here’s where to download firmware” (I realize my example bypasses the wiki-control perspective, but I think you’d grant me that non-wiki info abounds).

    The minute an administrator makes a change to the FTP server that link’s invalidated but she has no way of knowing!

    I picture a map/reduce process that takes the link you’re going to change and sees if any of your documents reference it (they should) and would output that relevant information for you.

    Then you could:
    (a) change the necessary doc, perhaps automatically
    (b) put in more intelligent redirect than a generic 404 search pate
    (c) decide not to care
    (e) not break the docs
    (…) I’m sure there are others

    If your docs are in version control and are considered central to your business than not only the current docs could be checked but you could also say “moving that link will break these 4 docs which were last updated in 1981 and have not been downloaded since 1990″.

    I guess the net is that if information is central to your business than you ought to treat it with the same sense of royalty as you do your infrastructure. :)

  3. Dan Turkenkopf says:

    So why not a Wiki?

    Or is the expectation that people will get a printed document?

    • jay says:

      Dan,
      I of course think wiki’s are great but I don’t think they buy you any kind of ultimate solution unless you run your entire site on them and always let them manage the inter-dependencies.

      I was referring more towards print, or print-able, objects but I consider wiki’s to just defer the problem.

      If you add a link to a wiki that points to a page on your site, perhaps “here’s where to download firmware” (I realize my example bypasses the wiki-control perspective, but I think you’d grant me that non-wiki info abounds).

      The minute an administrator makes a change to the FTP server that link’s invalidated but she has no way of knowing!

      I picture a map/reduce process that takes the link you’re going to change and sees if any of your documents reference it (they should) and would output that relevant information for you.

      Then you could:
      (a) change the necessary doc, perhaps automatically
      (b) put in more intelligent redirect than a generic 404 search pate
      (c) decide not to care
      (e) not break the docs
      (…) I’m sure there are others

      If your docs are in version control and are considered central to your business than not only the current docs could be checked but you could also say “moving that link will break these 4 docs which were last updated in 1981 and have not been downloaded since 1990″.

      I guess the net is that if information is central to your business than you ought to treat it with the same sense of royalty as you do your infrastructure. :)

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