Mimicking WordPress’ Date-Based Permalinks in ExpressionEngine

Oct. 6, 2008

5:01 pm

When I made the big jump from WordPress to ExpressionEngine this past spring, I dumped all my old posts. There were many reasons for the decision, and one of them was that I couldn't figure out an easy way to migrate the URLs for existing articles over to the new system. Granted, it wasn't the biggest of reasons, but it didn't help.

The year/month/day permalinks that WP helped popularize are great, especially when you hold them up to the standards presented by Tim Berners-Lee. They're descriptive of the content, and in systems like WordPress, they can be made hackable with very little effort. (You could, for instance, remove the title, and have an archive page serve up a list of all posts for that day. Hack off the day, and the same template could serve up all the posts for that month. You get the idea.)

While ExpressionEngine doesn't serve up nice date based URLs by default, it turns out it can be done. In fact, it's quite easily accomplished.

I love it when developers get all transparent with their process.

Adam Kanh, the developer behind the conversion of Khoi Vinh's Subtraction from Movable Type to ExpressionEngine, deserves all of the credit for this little trick. It's immensely helpful when a developer lays out their templates, regardless of what language they're written in, for all the world to see. In all those lines of code, here's the piece I was most interested in:

  1. <h4><a href="{path={entry_date format="%Y/%m/%d"}}{url_title}">{title}</a></h4>

The thing about ExpressionEngine is some template tags – like entry_date – get processed really early on in the rendering process. That means you can nest them inside tags that get rendered later on – like the path tag. All we're doing in this little snippet is making a path out of a formatted entry date string and then appending the title of the post to the end. The resulting permalink should look familiar to WordPress users and consumers:

  1. http://thenestedfloat.com/2008/10/06/crazy-awesome-post

From here, you've got all sorts of options for writing and arranging templates that handle this URL in a friendly, hackable way. I'll describe one such option here soon, but you may also find that Adam's solution, linked above, is just what you're looking for.


December 8, 2008

6:42 am


I was referred to you by Nick P. and would like to see if you are interested in a site conversion/re-design project.


Jim Caton (#)

January 3, 2009

6:26 pm

This is a very interesting transition. I have a small blog myself, but I keep it as a secret until I manage to sort everything out. Are you truly happy with expressionengine instead of Wordpress? I’ve heard many opinions and the advantages which you have presented are definitely a plus. Thank you for the post!

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February 2, 2009

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Nice tip about permalinks. It inspires me much though I’m sticking on Wordpress.

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December 14, 2009

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Your work is fantastic looking, the site is a snap to navigate… Consider me a fan!

thai silk (#)

January 3, 2010

8:03 pm

I’m curious why you switched to ExpressionEngine. I have a blog and use WP. There are so many plugins that you can do about anything you want with it. Are there some advantage that I’m missing? Instead of dumping the old posts you could use a 301 redirect from the old URL to the new URL. The 301 shows that the page was move permanently. You still keep all the backlinks, pr, and search engine rankings.

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January 21, 2010

6:29 am

EE is really new to me and the sound of it is really cool… Maybe it’s time to take it a test.. Thanks for posting this guide.

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February 11, 2010

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February 12, 2010

2:25 am

I was in the military for four years and I still have a hard time getting up early. But now I don’t have a drill sergeant turning the lights on and yelling at me either.
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March 31, 2010

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