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Re: i69: Clarify "Requested Variant" [was: New "200 OK" status codes, PATCH & PROPFIND]

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Thu, 28 Feb 2008 16:00:13 +1100
Cc: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <2D99C9B7-A13C-43AA-AD00-E5555E9D4E28@mnot.net>
To: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>

As I said in a separate e-mail just now, I think the definition of  
entity and representation deserves to be a new issue.

Roy - my personal feedback here is that while there's internal logic  
to what you say, it conflicts pretty deeply with the terminology  
already in 2616, which is what most people (including myself) base  
their understanding upon. As such, I wonder if the least surprising /  
disruptive thing to do would be to adapt the concepts and terminology,  
rather than swap them out.

I understand that in theory, everything can have a URI (i.e., has the  
potential for being associated with a resource), but the current split  
of terminology seems to nicely acknowledge the fact that the common  
case is to talk about the representation of the explicitly identified  
resource (i.e., the one in either the request-URI or the Content- 
Location header, as appropriate).

To put it another way -- if a representation doesn't have a URI, is it  
still useful to call it a representation?

Beyond that, I wonder at the choice of terms here:
> representation An entity included with a response that is subject to  
> content negotiation, as described in section 12. There may exist  
> multiple representations associated with a particular response status.

I'd understand this if the last sentence ended with "particular  
resource" but "particular response status" seems like an odd thing to  
say so generically. Anybody want to shed light on why this is as it is?

On 15/02/2008, at 5:49 AM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:

> That is a representation.  I was hoping to replace entity at some  
> point for
> that reason.  The payload is always a representation of *some*  
> resource.  The
> status code tells us which resource it is, and Content-Location  
> tells us its
> most specific URI.

Mark Nottingham     http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Thursday, 28 February 2008 05:00:27 UTC

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