Bombarded by colorful infographics and rich 3D renderings, we may forget that fancy tools and visual tricks are not needed to communicate complex ideas.
This week I discovered a diagram that for the intended audience – those who have a familiarity with URLs and URIs – is a remarkably clear summary. The diagram is by Tantek Çelik in his blog post: How many ways can you slice a URL and name the pieces?
Things this diagram does well:
- Communicates a hierarchical structure for each URL slicing method
- Allows us to compare the hierarchies. There are few diagrams that do a good job of this.
- Reveals some interesting patterns. Consult his original blog post to learn more.
- And required no graphics application to create. This diagram is just a simple HTML table
If you must document how your code handles URLs, then learn from Tantek’s work. A diagram would provide an intuitive and concise explanation to your readers.
I wanted to see if I could represent this in a different way to make the hierarchy more clear. My attempt at creating one with Microsoft Excel is shown below. Ultimately, I think Tantek’s original diagram is much better.