TheMadScientist - 5:12 pm on Mar 26, 2010 (gmt 0)
I think you're misunderstanding:
Do you force users to /home.htm when they request your domain?
1.) Some sites do... I've even seen sites use (redirect to) /keyword (extensionless) for their home page.
2.) I actually do the opposite. I shorten everything I can by removing the / too so http://www.example.com/ is the home page, but the directory overview is located at: http://www.example.com/directory rather than http://www.example.com/directory/
The same document does say that a path that contains slashes "these must imply a hierarchical structure".
It does, and they sure do, but that does not mean the index of the directory or 'hierarchical structure' must be located at /directory/ If you can find where it says otherwise, meaning, 'You must use /directory/ as the 'index' page of a collection of documents in the hierarchical structure', please let me know.
And, you can actually designate the default page for a directory URL request to be anything you want if you have enough permissions... it could be foo-keyword-garbage.ext meaning a request for /directory/ would return the contents from /directory/foo-keyword-garbage.ext if you decided to set it that way on your server.
There's not any requirement as to what the file name is at all. It could create some added confusion by calling it 'index' which may make people think since the default file is usually called 'index.ext' it must be an 'index' of the contents of the directory, which is not the case.
The index of the contents of the directory can be located anywhere. There does not even need to be a unique index for each specific directory on a site, because a single page (document) could contain the 'index' of multiple directories on the site. (This does not discount the use of directory structure in the URL for organization in any way.)
The default page (document) loaded for /directory/ requests can be called anything. The directory hierarchy does play into organization, but there is no requirement stating you must present an index of the directory when someone requests the root.
The actual index can be located anywhere, including on a page one level up from the directory, with the same name as the directory, which is where mine are, and if you request the /directory/ location thinking you should find an index or something there, I even redirect you to the correct location, which happens to be a page one level up from the directory you requested and has the same name as the directory.
It's not only within the HTTP Specification for me to use any page within the hierarchy of my site for the index of a directory, it's the correct use of a 301 Redirect to take someone from where they thought they could find something like an index of a directory to the location where they can find the index of the directory...
Why should I use file system conventions?
I don't really care what you do and don't think you should if something else works better for you and your situation... The only reason I got involved in this discussion again is because it was stated it's against HTTP Specification to not use the /directory/ location as an index of the documents contained in the directory which IMO is either a complete misunderstanding of the Specification or pushing an agenda as if it were the Specification, and I don't think either is good for the people who read here.