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Re: Last Call: draft-nottingham-http-link-header (Web Linking) to Proposed Standard

From: Noah Slater <nslater@tumbolia.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 20:36:55 +0100
To: Nicolas Alvarez <nicolas.alvarez@gmail.com>
Cc: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
Message-ID: <20090831193655.GA30680@tumbolia.org>
On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 03:46:14PM -0300, Nicolas Alvarez wrote:
> > Links elements:
> >
> >   <link rel="up" href="/">
> >
> >   <link rel="up" href="/dir-a/">
> >
> >   <link rel="up" href="/dir-a/dir-b/">
> >
> > The hierarchical position of each link can be found by parsing the URI.
> URIs are opaque, you can't parse them and know what the depth is.

Nonsense, you are free to parse them however you wish.

While RFC 3986 says that "a path segment is considered opaque by the generic
syntax," this does not marry well with folk interpretation. It is certainly not
helped when the immediately preceding paragraph describes "." and ".." as being
"similar to their role within some operating systems' file directory structures
to indicate the current directory and parent directory, respectively."

The de-facto interpretation of the path component is that it is hierarchical
"similar to [it's] role within some operating systems' file directory
structures" and so I stand by my original statements:

  The "/" character has special meaning within a URI, as do "." and "..", and as
  much as we like to tell ourselves that URIs are opaque, folk wisdom tells us
  that we can usually treat them like UNIX filenames.

  Power users "hack" URIs to navigate, and there are browser extension that
  automate it for everyone else. My suggestion to base the depth information on
  parsing the URI has some grounding in current practice.

         - http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/2009JulSep/0646.html

I'm not saying that URIs are not opaque, because technically they are. I am
arguing that when common practice so overwhelmingly contradicts the conclusions
made from a theoretical perspective, something has gone horribly wrong.


Noah Slater, http://tumbolia.org/nslater
Received on Monday, 31 August 2009 19:37:36 UTC

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