[drupal-devel] [feature] rename 'path alias' to 'custom url'

elichapman drupal-devel at drupal.org
Wed Sep 7 19:11:02 UTC 2005

Issue status update for 
Post a follow up: 

 Project:      Drupal
 Version:      cvs
 Component:    path.module
 Category:     feature requests
 Priority:     normal
 Assigned to:  moshe weitzman
 Reported by:  moshe weitzman
 Updated by:   elichapman
 Status:       patch (code needs review)

+1 I agree with Moshe, having been one of those that didn't understand
what Path Alias was, but was ecstatic when I learned what it would let
me do. I'm not a developer. I understand the semantic argument against
using the word URL in the description. But for me, this is the URL, and
I refer to the ability to "customize a URL." So my vote (for whatever
it's worth) is "Custom URL" or "Customize the URL or Web Address." I
like Customize better since it's an action verb.


Previous comments:

Tue, 06 Sep 2005 14:17:34 +0000 : moshe weitzman

Attachment: http://drupal.org/files/issues/custom_url.patch (1.71 KB)

i have had several people frown and ask what the heck we mean in the
posting UI by 'path alias'. Once I explain, they adore the feature and
suggest the alternative wording 'custom url'. So here is a patch which
changes the user facing name of this feature. Admin area is unchanged
and probably shouldn't be since the concept of an alias is more
important there.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 18:46:35 +0000 : Morbus Iff

-1 from me. The purist in me would see "custom URL" and would enter the
full URL: http://something.com/blah/, not the actual, um, "path alias"
that the thing is looking for. URL actually *means* something, and
that's "http://something/blah/" not "blah".


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 18:53:50 +0000 : m3avrck

-1 from me as well, "Custom URL" just doesn't make as much sense. Then
again, I do see the issues with the word "Path" but "alias" should make
sense to most people.

So what about "URL alias" ? That would combine the best of both worlds,
IMO :)


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 18:54:37 +0000 : Crell

I have to agree with Morbus and -1 this one for the same reason.  I'd
say that if anything, the help text below the path alias text box
should be improved.  The lone example of "about" doesn't help much.  A
better example would be:

For example, enter "mypages/about" if you want a page to appear at
Something like that would make it much clearer what part of the URL one
is entering.  It could even be customized to use $base_url there, so
that it's site specific. :-)


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 19:01:54 +0000 : Morbus Iff

I think I'd be fine with "URL path", in as much as a path is not a URL
(or a shaving is not a pencil, for equivalence). "URL alias" I'd still
be concerned about - there's nothing in those two words that would
dissuade me from using an entire URL (unlike "URL path"). "Alternative
URL path"?


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 19:12:37 +0000 : m3avrck

Well building upon that don't we get run full circle to "URL Path Alias"
? Maybe that makes the *most* sense :)


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 19:41:41 +0000 : nedjo

custom link?  custom address?

I agree the current label is confusing.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 19:51:39 +0000 : moshe weitzman

come on. our goal here is not to prevent a hard core developer from
typing in 'http'. we are trying to make software that normal people can
use without stressing their brains. neither 'path' nor 'alias'
contribute toward this goal.

'custom' is good because joe user gets it through his head that he can
control the urls. this is a mind blowing moment for many new users.
they never had it so good! 'url' isn't that great, and morbus might get
confused by it (cough cough). so i like 'custom address' a lot.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 19:55:44 +0000 : Morbus Iff

"Custom address" doesn't work for me - I think of address as a complete
street address, or a complete web site address, not just "Concord, NH"
or "blah". As for user vs. hardcore, I've no problem with that, but I
will not stand for using terms improperly - that's just making users
dumber, and our lives more difficult in the future.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 20:05:30 +0000 : Morbus Iff

With that said, I'd be fine with "custom address", assuming the help
text gets improved per #3.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 20:25:51 +0000 : Bèr Kessels

In general changing words will not help a lot. Especially if you change
something into an easier, yet incorrect (or not fully covering) term.
taxonomy is just that: taxonomy. taxonomyes are not categories! A path
alias is just that: an alias for a path. It is not a custom URL.
So I agre with morbus: we should not use incorrect terminology.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 20:37:42 +0000 : breyten

How about adding $base_url in front of the textfield (but not editable)
? I think we can then leave the description as custom url.


Tue, 06 Sep 2005 20:52:53 +0000 : Crell

hm, I like that.  It becomes a "fill in the blank" form.  We'd have to
size the text field properly, but that should clear up any confusion,
especially if the base url also has a / after it so make it clearer
that one shouldn't include that.


Wed, 07 Sep 2005 01:04:49 +0000 : kbahey

I agree that the current wording is confusing. I have people on one of
my sites (non techies) who enter the URL of their own site in the alias

Custom URL is fine by me. It is a step better than the current wording,
but still "URL" may be confusing.

I like the idea of preceeding it with the $base_url, but that can be
very long in some cases (imagine a subdomain, a longish domain, and a
directory). It can be too wide on the screen.  It is still the best
idea so far though, since it is a fill the blanks approach.


Wed, 07 Sep 2005 02:59:51 +0000 : Jaza

IMO the phrase 'custom url' is a big step up from 'path alias', so +1
from me. Back in the dark ages, when I hadn't yet discovered Drupal and
was still searching for the CMS of my dreams [:-)], I was looking
specifically for a CMS that supported fully configurable URLs. I
remember googling for such phrases as 'url rewriting', 'clean urls',
and (possibly) 'custom urls'. When I finally stumbled upon Drupal
(through SpreadFirefox, just by chance), I learned that round here, my
dream feature was called 'path aliasing'.

I never thought to search for 'path aliasing'. It is Drupal-specific
jargon, rather than jargon that's common to many CMS's or to the web in
general. Had the feature been called 'custom urls' instead, I probably
would have found Drupal much sooner than I did. So I can say from
personal experience that this change in woridng is long overdue.

However, the points raised are valid: 'custom url' may mislead people
into thinking that they have to type in the full URL. So if this change
goes through, the help text must be very explicit about what the user
needs to type in. E.g.:

/Enter a custom URL+ for a page on your site. Do not enter the full
URL: only enter the part that comes after your site's root address.
E.g. for http://www.mysite.com/drupal/node/3, only enter 'aboutme', not


Wed, 07 Sep 2005 03:49:10 +0000 : Eaton

+1 here, too. It's such a minor change, and t's not as if reading
'custom url' will confuse people with some sort of subtle technical


Wed, 07 Sep 2005 06:29:21 +0000 : Allie Micka

I have to say -1, only because there's no strong consensus.  A transient
interface is more of a usability burden than the occasional mis-labeled
field.  There's enough of an existing userbase for Drupal that we
should be considerate of both future users *and* existing ones.

Mind you, I'm not opposed to progress.  If someone came up with the
most appropriate name ever invented by a human being, everyone would
wholeheartedly agree to set things straight post haste.  I also look
forward to other improvements down the line.  But when nobody seems to
feel strongly one way or the other it's a lukewarm fix to a lukewarm
problem.  What if someone suggests something better three months from
now and it's yet another confusing UI change?

Each new release seems to introduce a whole bunch of menu moves, label
changes and other weird tweaks.  Half of the time I understand the
intent and accept the change, but other times the cost of making
everyone re-learn where something is outweighs the benefits of having
put it there.


Wed, 07 Sep 2005 15:46:32 +0000 : brdwor

-1 because of the ambiguous use of URL.

"custom /relative/ URL"


Wed, 07 Sep 2005 16:02:19 +0000 : mathias

Because we use 'URL aliases' for the aliasing overview link I'd like to
see 'Path alias' replaced with 'URL alias'. It's a small change, but
adds coherency to the interface and nails down what we want.

When I initially wrote path.module, entering absolute URLs was fine. I
just stripped off the $base_url and informed the user of the action. 
Perhaps this approach should be re-visited? I'd be more than happy to
write it.

More information about the drupal-devel mailing list