W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-awwsw@w3.org > August 2009

Re: HTTPbis and the definition of "resource"

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Mon, 31 Aug 2009 12:52:58 -0400
Message-ID: <760bcb2a0908310952o7b0d6900k9cd3425de5aa0296@mail.gmail.com>
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
On Mon, Aug 31, 2009 at 12:21 PM, Pat Hayes<phayes@ihmc.us> wrote:
> On Aug 31, 2009, at 7:57 AM, Jonathan Rees wrote:
>> Here's a summary of the definition-of-"resource" issue:
>> (this is in partial fulfillment of AWWSW ACTION-19
>> http://www.w3.org/2007/awwsw/tracker/actions/19 "Raise httpbis text
>> issues on awwsw mailing list"; not included here is the question of
>> the text for 303):
>> I wrote to http-wg in January complaining that the HTTPbis definition
>> of "resource" didn't match the normative definition in RFC 3986:
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/ietf-http-wg/2009JanMar/0142.html
>> Basically 3986 allows a resource to be anything, while HTTPbis (like
>> RFC 2616) insists that a resource be a "network data object or
>> service":
> FWIW, there is a proposal to replace the more general usage of 'resource'
> with a more neutral word such as 'thing'. This strikes me as a vastly better
> way to resolve this clash of terminology. If adopted, it would free up
> "resource" to have its HTTPbis meaning. This would be more in line with
> historical usage of this term in this context (eg in the early writings on
> hypertext by Doug Engelbart) and would also be more natural, since to use
> the word "resource" to mean absolutely anything is a bit like calling
> everything a cabbage. In sum, the RFC 3986 usage of "resource", while
> currently definitive, is in fact the more idiosyncratic and confusing of the
> two usages. Maybe HTTP should stick to its guns and we should all push for
> changes to RFC 3986 instead :-) The phrase "network resource", while
> technically redundant, could still be used for clarification when there was
> any possibility of confusion with the current RFC usage.
> Pat

This would be fine with me. I like defining resource as "something
someone can use", which is closer to 2616 than to 3986 - this would be
much closer to ordinary language. Then we should revise 3986 (which
was one of the options I listed)... and RDF...

On the other hand the question raised by GET+303 would remain - is
2616bis about resources, with an occasional jarring mention of things
(e.g. in the 410 or 303 text), or is it about things, some of which
(resources?) can be the subject of GET or other requests? Or can it be
about resources without the need to mention things at all? That would
be nice but it would require some undetermined very clever rewrite of
the GET+303 section (to reconcile "the thing denoted by the
request-target" with "the resource identified by the request-target").


> ------------------------------------------------------------
> IHMC                                     (850)434 8903 or (650)494 3973
> 40 South Alcaniz St.           (850)202 4416   office
> Pensacola                            (850)202 4440   fax
> FL 32502                              (850)291 0667   mobile
> phayesAT-SIGNihmc.us       http://www.ihmc.us/users/phayes
Received on Monday, 31 August 2009 16:53:39 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 20:21:07 UTC