W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-awwsw@w3.org > December 2008

200 response as conclusive evidence of an information resource

From: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston) <dbooth@hp.com>
Date: Mon, 1 Dec 2008 07:47:02 +0000
To: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
CC: "public-awwsw@w3.org" <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-ID: <CD2B872281385A439B98164F5351E6DD39C4779253@GVW1144EXB.americas.hpqcorp.net>

[Spinning this off as a separate topic]

> From Jonathan Rees:
> > From David Booth:
> > I don't think that's quite the right perspective.  I think
> > if a GET on a URI yields a 2xx response, that is conclusive
> > evidence that the URI *does* denote an IR, regardless of
> > anything else that the URI owner may state through other means.
>
> I know you have urged people to believe this, but I do not see
> evidence that any formal document licenses this statement.  I know
> others in the group, including me, expressly disagree, as IMO it
> contradicts the "URI owner" section of AWWW 2.2.2.1, so please let's
> just agree to disagree and try to move on.

Are you saying that you think the httpRange-14 decision itself contradicts the "URI owner" section of AWWW 2.2.2.1, or are you saying that my interpretation contradicts it?  Any in either case, why?  I don't think it contradicts the "URI owner" section of AWWW 2.2.2.1 at all: the URI owner may use many means of communication to declare what the URI should denote: email, conversation in an elevator, publication in a journal article, blog entry, and -- yes -- server configuration.  The fact that the owner may inadvertently make a declaration that he/she didn't intend is not unique to server configurations: misstatements can be made through *any* means of communication.  Certainly, some means of communication may be deemed more reliable than others, but that is a separate and orthogonal question.  If I stand in a bar and claim that I was in New York on January 1, 2000 and I also make a sworn statement claiming that I was *not* in New York on January 1, 2000, I have still contradicted myself, regardless of the fact that the sworn statement may be deemed more reliable than the statement in the bar.

Furthermore, to my mind there is a very good practical reason why a 200 response *should* be considered conslusive evidence of an IR: to permit people to make statements about the IR that produced the awww:Representation that was returned.  Suppose you own a URI http://jar.example/danscar that you mean to denote Dan's car, and you create an HTML page that describes the car.  You then "misconfigure" your server such that a GET on http://jar.example/danscar yields a 200 response directly with an awww:Representation of that page: you forgot to set up the intervening 303 redirect that you intended.  I then perform a GET on u and get a 200 response with your HTML page describing Dan's car.  I don't care about Dan's car, but I *do* notice that the page contains invalid HTML, so I decide to add it to my HTML hall of shame by stating:

  <http://jar.example/danscar> a :InformationResource ;
        :hasHTML  :invalid .

Presumably the thing that yielded the offending awww:Representation is an :InformationResource, since as far as I know, nothing else *can* yield awww:Representations, and presumably that's what I got back with the 200 response.  And using the URI http://jar.example/danscar to refer to that :InformationResource seems like the most natural thing to do.  For the many billion other pages that exist on the web, I can use the URI that yielded a 200 response to refer to the :InformationResource that is that web page.  Why should http://jar.example/danscar suddenly *not* be deemed to refer to the :InformationResource that returned the offending HTML in this case?  And how else *should* I refer to the IR that yielded the 200 response?

Can you give more explanation of why you see this as contradicting the "URI owner" section of AWWW 2.2.2.1?


David Booth, Ph.D.
HP Software
+1 617 629 8881 office  |  dbooth@hp.com
http://www.hp.com/go/software

Statements made herein represent the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the official views of HP unless explicitly so stated.
Received on Monday, 1 December 2008 07:51:36 GMT

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