Why? Why should you go ahead and change a perfectly happy link to one that points to a directory (virtual or otherwise)?…
EXPANDABILITY. What if you, or the company you work for, decide to upgrade (or simply change) your site to use a different technology?for instance replacing your PHP?built site (about.php) with a system developed in ColdFusion (about.cfm)? If you stick to a directory structure URL (/about/), the page?s web address remains consistent, regardless of how the site is actually put together. And that?s gold; links don?t break, time is not wasted, and joy abounds. Build a neat directory structure from the get?go, and you’ll be thanking yourself down the track. You may not want to expose the particular technology you?re using on your site to the rest of the world. By using a neat directory structure, you don?t have to. You may not want to expose the particular technology you?re using on your site to the rest of the world. By using a neat directory structure, you don?t have to…You don?t even need to actually use physical directories on the server; you can map the URLs on your site in any way you like, using mod_rewrite (a personal favorite).
Actually zope/plone also has URL remapping capabilities, as does the more sophisticated content management systems out there. The real concern I have is archivability. If you change server scripting languages, it’s a lot harder to remap if all your prefixes end in .asp or .php than a simpler backslash.
On another note, I recently discovered that archive.org doesn’t do a particularly good job of archiving content. The solution? Use Alexa web browser, which will automatically report the URL to archive.org so that it caches data. I was offline for 2 months; ok, that was awful. But imagine my dismay to learn that after a month or so of being offline, all the google caches of my content had disappeared. I was unreachable. And although archive.org archived some of my content, most were 6 months out of date, and one important web page wasn’t cached at all. Using alexa ensures that this won’t happen.