Getting really confused here...
I forgot that I just created a directory called "finance" and dropped a test "index.php" in it. So I can see why your 2nd code example works, however, I don't think this will work for what I am trying to do ultimately...
The way my website is currently coded (i.e. Apache mod_rewrites, PHP, etc) is that I have a Navigation Bar with several "Sections" in it.
A user clicks on something like "Finance" which goes to...
(Pretty URL) http://local.debbie/finance/
...and displays a listing of articles about Finance.
This works great, except that right before going live with v2.0, I realized that as I add content to my website, I am going to have more than just "Articles" in a given Section. (For example, maybe I want to have Graphs/Charts or Stock Quotes in my "Finance" section.)
So the only practical way to handle this - as I see it - is to create a "Landing Page" for each Section.
To further complicate things, each "Landing Page" will require different code, so having a "catch-all template" like I am using now to display the "Listing of Articles" won't work.
So originally I figured I would just create a new directory for each Section, and then I could create a unique "index.php" file, and be good to go.
However, I also wonder if there is a better way. (I'm not crazy about mucking up my Web Root with "shell" directories to solve this issue.)
And the code you just offered wouldn't work moving forward, because if I follow the approach just described, then I would have directories for "Finance", "Legal", "Management", etc and so if I wanted to have a Section without a "Landing Page" that went directly to a "Listing of Articles" using my current articles/index.php template, then things wouldn't work.
I think my bigger questions needs to be...
1.) Should I create directories for each Section of my website (i.e. maybe 10-15)?
2.) Depending on #1, how do I handle the need for a unique PHP file to create the various "Landing Pages"?
3.) How hard would it be to have some Sections go to a "Landing Page", but other Sections go directly to the "Listing of <Section> Articles" page for Sections that don't have enough material/content to justify creating a "Landing Page" in the beginning?
Lots of questions, I know?!
Anyways, that is what I am ultimately trying to do, and I'm not sure if this is more of a File System/Apache thing, or more of a Code/PHP thing?