Santa's Elite Special Elf Forces

Now that's pretty funny. <lj-cut text="But I have a tangential rant.">


Of course I don't know what the hell it's about, since all I have is the URL to the image, not to the article that goes along with it. And, ladies and gentlemen, there is a plague infecting the web, and it is this:

    This Virtual Directory does not allow contents to be listed.

Back in the caveman days, when web publishers actually used files with HTML in them, you could always clip components off the end of a URL to go up a level and get more context. Sometimes that would get you a directory listing, or if you were lucky (and the web designer was sane) that would get you an index page that made navigation easier than a straight file list.

But here in The Future, everyone uses some godawful "database"-driven software or other to run their web sites, and the default behavior is to cripple navigation. I often see URLs where the index looks like /somewhere/blort/blort.html", and /somewhere/blort/" is an error! That's a fantastic fucking idea, that is.

Fuck "virtual directories." Fuck them bad.


Update: four found the source here.

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Current Music: Fluke -- Mosh ♬

21 Responses:

  1. hepkitten says:

    It's the Miami riot cops defending the Santa's Little Village in Miami during the Anti-FTAA protests.

  2. malokai says:

    IIS refers to any directory as a 'virtual directory', since IIS is configured to map resources to a directory in a file system. I'm sure it made sense in 1997.

    Of course, this person's job was created after 1990, so I don't trust their opinion.

  3. elainegrey says:

    Geeze, and i thought they were plastic toys.

  4. popefelix says:

    in Apache, you just turn off the option that allows the contents of a directory to be listed (I misremember what that is, ATM) and you get a 403 Forbidden. No wierd database-driven goofiness, just simple files.

    • premchai21 says:

      Options [-+]Indexes?

    • jwz says:
      1. I doubt they're using Apache. (But I don't care.)

      2. My whole point, which seemed to have whizzed over your head, is that whatever most people are using these days seems to default to not allowing directories to be listed, which is stupid. Further, many "designers" these days seem unfamiliar with the concept of putting the primary content of a directory in the "index.html" file (where "html" is whatever the flavor-of-the-weak extension is.)

      3. You have invoked the "Oh, but there's a preference to turn off that stupid behavior" defense. I am showering you with negativity.

      Am I really that incomprehensible to most of you people? I used to be under the impression that I was moderately articulate, but shit like this makes me wonder whether anyone has ever understood a thing I've said in my whole life.

      • doubleyou says:

        ...whatever most people are using these days seems to default to not allowing directories to be listed, which is stupid.

        Er, if you say so. To people with a clue, the directory listing is a useful trick. But I thought the reasoning behind disabling it was to expressly keep people from snooping around at files the content provider didn't want them to see, and to insulate visitors from anything that was "unsightly" or "confusing".

        But yes, this begs the question. If they don't want directory listings to be seen, then they should use the "index.html" for what it was meant for (by mapping it to some actual content), and not use redundant naming schemes like "foo/foo.html". It's a result of web developers getting dumber and more spoonfed as time goes on.

        • inoshiro says:

          For security reasons (since I don't like having people indexing things in case they happen to access things while I'm in the middle of something), I leave indexes off -- with an option to override it via .htaccess.

          However, I also vet my various URLs to ensure that they can move to the logical parent without getting a big, fat error page. An example is that I usually encode parameters to scripts in the URL and just manually parse the URL. This lets you have things like articles/blort/ (all articles on blort), or articles/ (all articles, including on blort), or articles/blort/2003/ (all of 2003's blort articles).

          It's just common courtesy. My websites don't require www. either, since I'm not braindead on DNS -- most of them will redirect www. to the non-www. ones even :)

      • popefelix says:

        I have invoked no defense. I have merely pointed out that this thing you so vehemently bemoan is not limited to IIS, which I think is where most of this Virtual Directory crap lives.

  5. j_b says:

    I often see URLs where the index looks like /somewhere/blort/blort.html", and /somewhere/blort/" is an error!

    Out of curiosity, where did you get the metasyntactic variable "blort" from? An acquaintance of mine uses it, and claims it was a Bill the Cat'ism, but I'd never seen a comic strip with it used.

    • jwz says:

      I really can't remember; but I think that as far back as the 80s, the progression went "foo, bar, baz, quux, blort".

  6. baconmonkey says:

    Imagine young master Zawinski's surprise upon opening a broken wrist watch, "But there are no gears in this watch; How can I make it go?"

    Though I too, at times, find the meta-dir thing a little irritating at time, but no more so than sites generated via
    ?a=b&x=y