Simulating directory paths with user-defined URLs mirroring the Site Map

When a new node is added to Drupal, there is an option to construct a URL for the page which resembles a directory path. These URLs are more memorable and can reflect the hierarchy of the Site Map making their relationship to other nodes apparent.

By default, the URL to a page in a Drupal site looks like this: http://im.lternet.edu/node/550, giving no hint of its content. That could be called a "node URL". Many pages on the IMC Drupal site have user-constructed URLs that reflect the Site Map, http://im.lternet.edu/projects/DEIMS/software_projects for example. That could be called a "Site Map URL". That page only has that URL because the page author entered that URL as an option when creating the page, in the URL Path Settings. That is where the author may "Optionally specify an alternative URL by which this node can be accessed."

When we reorganized the Site Map for this IMC Drupal website, the user-constructed Site Map URLs remained unchanged and in some cases became unaligned with the site map until a person edits the link within the page Site Map URL option. Because there really is no filesystem directory path, those links did not break. Also because when we reorganized the Site Map we were not re-filing files in a directory, the pages did not "move"; they are still the same node in the database table. For example, many pages which used to be under /im/news/committees/working_groups/ may still be accessed using those old URLs but the old URLs do not reflect where the pages are currently found in the Site Map, now under /projects/name_of_WG/

OLD: http://intranet.lternet.edu/im/news/committees/working_groups/emlbestpra...
NEW: http://intranet.lternet.edu/im/projects/eml_best_practices/
NEW, on the NEW site: http://im.lternet.edu/projects/eml_best_practices/

The pages of a Drupal website in fact are not in filesystem directory hierarchy. They are actually stored as nodes in database table. Without page authors' manual annotation to a page as to where it fits in a Site Map, the pages created with 'Create Content' would all be at the same level with no organization. Hierarchy is automatic when 'Create Child Page' is used but Drupal will still not construct a URL path setting automatically to reflect that hierarchy.

It is best to construct user-defined Site Map URLs to match the current revised Site Map.

How to enter a URL path setting:
This page, for example, I enter "help/url_path_setting" (without the quotes) and the full URL appears as http://im.lternet.edu/help/url_path_setting. Do not enter a slash at the start or end of the URL path setting. (i.e do NOT set it as "/help/url_path_setting" or help/url_path_setting/")