Those Pesky Slashes

Martin Atkins mart at
Sat May 28 04:34:30 PDT 2005

LiveJournal has cute little OpenID Identity URLs:

However, not all sites are going to want to put a wildcard on their 
domain to make that work. In many cases, they might already have users 
which conflict with existing hosts in their domain.

They're going to end up like or, or even All of these are far less 
memorable than the cutesy hostnames LiveJournal provides.

It seems like we need to do something about those pesky slashes. I'm not 
sure what, though. The obvious thing that springs to mind is doing some 
transformation to a "standard" URL form which sites can then mod_rewrite 
(or whatever) to the place they need to go. However, that's going to 
lead to identifiers like user at (which would perhaps map to ?) which suddenly gives users the need to 
remember whether this one is an @-type address or a dot-type address.

Given how bad users are at remembering whether something is in .com or (in the UK at least) and how people constantly contort
<lj user="..."> and <lj-cut> into things like <lj-user="..."> (on 
LiveJournal, at least!) relying on people's ability to remember these 
nutty little details is probably unadvisable.

It seems to me that LiveJournal is really the special case when it comes 
to having URLs like that. There are far more sites which do not. 
However, having a wacky URL form breaks it for people who are using 
their own weblog as their identity URL.

So what's to be done? Do we just force everyone to configure wildcard 
DNS or do we find some way to obscure the difference between and ?

More information about the yadis mailing list