The personal website of Chris Coyier

Hidden URLs

There is a recent trend in browsers that they are hiding all but the root domain in the “URL bar”. So for instance:

http://chriscoyier.net/dancing/bears

would become:

chriscoyier.net

I’ve read lots of opinions about it, ranging from the profoundly butthurt, to ‘this was inevitable’, to ‘this is good for the web’.

I think a lot of it depends on how the UI actually plays out. If you could never see the full current URL, that would clearly be bad. It would limit the ability to copy and paste it and share it or do whatever you needed to do with it. URLs will probably always be how the web operates, so this isn’t a step toward some URL-free web or anything crazy like that.

If it’s a setting I can change, cool, no big deal then. It might just be an aesthetic thing based on the limited screen space on mobile devices and hey whatever. I’ve even heard it argued it’s a security thing because it makes very clear exactly what site you are on, which can get tricky for non-webby folks what with all the weird crap in URL’s sometimes, especially tricky subdomains.

Most importantly: I think if you really care about this and want this change nipped in the bud, you should tell browser makers that it’s annoying because it makes something you’re actually trying to do harder. That’s the kind of thing businesses respond do, real UX, not theoretical loosening of web principals.