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Tim Murtaugh, writing for A List Apart, on how they like to host their own demos, but also wants to use our Embedded Pens:
We prefer to host demos on our own servers, a practice that guards against link rot. Link rot occurs when a site re-organizes their URL scheme but doesn’t re-direct visitors from old URLs to new ones, or when a site ceases to exist (Dean Allen where are you), or when pages are simply taken down (for reasons passing understanding).
In this case Val provided her demos via CodePen, one of the better code-sharing tools available. CodePen makes it easy to download the shared files, but it seemed a shame to host the demos locally and not take advantage of the features CodePen offers. So, cool, let’s embed the pen, right?
Then the worry:
If we’re thinking about the future (or more helpfully, the past), we have to consider: What happens when CodePen goes away? Or changes its URL structure? Or puts limits on the number of times a pen can be viewed? None of these things seem likely today, but on a long enough timeline the survival rate for everything drops to zero (and we’ve seen a lot of link rot since 1998).
He's right, those things are unlikely, but also right to be concerned and take precautions. He ends up doing the right thing: hosting the code themselves and having the fallback point to that. Seems like a good plan to me.
It was weird reading about someone's plan for your eventual demise though. It made me think about questions like this that we get:
@CodePen are you guys doing pretty well financially? I don't want to sign up and then the service goes away in a year like other startups
— J. Gallardo (@JGallardo2600) January 22, 2014
(Notice the code for embedded Tweets is future-proof as well).
Fair question, Juan. These things inspired me to write up how I felt about all this.
CodePen isn't a fly-by-night operation. My plan is to build a business by building and maintaining a good product that is useful to people - and do right by those people.
We'll have more to say about this as we go on.
Oh, and thanks for going PRO, Juan!