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Re: Content Sniffing impact on HTTPbis - #155

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Sun, 14 Jun 2009 01:45:55 +0000 (UTC)
To: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Cc: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>, Adam Barth <w3c@adambarth.com>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0906140132390.1648@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Sun, 14 Jun 2009, Mark Nottingham wrote:
> On 14/06/2009, at 9:48 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> > On Sun, 14 Jun 2009, Mark Nottingham wrote:
> > > 
> > > IME this distinction is critical and not making it causes all sorts 
> > > of problems.
> > 
> > Like what?
> 
> Confusion, of course. Changing the terminology of the Web fifteen years 
> after it was established will only add to that.

I contend that this isn't a change except for a tiny number of people 
(probably all of whom are on the HTTP WG mailing list). Most people have 
no idea what a "resource representation" is or why it would be different 
than a resource.


> > I'm claiming that the term "resource" already means "bag of bits" and 
> > that it is only within the context of the URI specs and the HTTP specs 
> > that anyone claims otherwise, and that these claims are based on a 
> > distinction that is purely theoretical and doesn't actually affect 
> > deployed content, or users, except for confusing them.
> 
> You're wrong, and in terms of the Web, HTTP and URI are two out of three 
> -- you're outnumbered as well.

The HTTP and URI specs are confusing. This is the kind of problem we 
should be working to stop, not making worse.


> > (Can you get any Web designer to correctly explain the difference 
> > between the terms resource identifier, resource, and resource 
> > representation as you use them?)
> 
> Do you think they'll actually be reading these documents?

They certainly won't if we make them impenetrable! We should be working to 
make our documents more accessible to a wider audience. Making them use 
terms that are counter to what everyone actually understands is not a 
good way to welcome more people to the standards development process. It 
merely continues the stereotype that we are all ivory tower academics.

Can you get any Web browser developer to correctly explain the difference 
between the terms resource identifier, resource, and resource 
representation as you use them? I hope you agree that we'd at least expect 
Web browser developers to read our specs, even if you don't think we 
should be aiming for Web designers in general to read them.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Sunday, 14 June 2009 01:46:28 GMT

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