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Re: Are generic resources intentional?

From: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Date: Wed, 10 Jun 2009 09:30:49 -0500
Cc: David Booth <david@dbooth.org>, Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>, "noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com" <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>, AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
Message-Id: <6C81B11A-E97D-434A-BB3F-082203C071F2@ihmc.us>
To: "Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)" <skw@hp.com>

On Jun 10, 2009, at 9:00 AM, Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol) wrote:

> Hello Pat,
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Pat Hayes [mailto:phayes@ihmc.us]
>> Sent: 10 June 2009 14:29
>> To: Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)
>> Cc: David Booth; Alan Ruttenberg; Jonathan Rees;
>> noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com; AWWSW TF
>> Subject: Re: Are generic resources intentional?
>> On Jun 10, 2009, at 7:50 AM, Williams, Stuart (HP Labs,
>> Bristol) wrote:
>>> David,
>>> I think the point of Alan's question is not so much about whether
>>> the file (and hence its representations) can be subject to change,
>>> but about whether its is the file itself[*] that is the responding
>>> entity or the thing (filing system) that acts as its container.
>> Right. But hasnt it been assumed since day one, ie somewhere around
>> Roy's thesis, that The Resource is **the thing identified by the
>> URI**, and that the stuff that gets sent (by the Resource, when you
>> ping it suitably) is a Representation of it, ie of the Resource,
>> rather than the Resource itself.
> Indeed... it was just that David's response seemed to miss what I  
> took to be the point of Alan's question.

I understand, and agree. But was then (in my pit-bull way) reiterating  
what I believe is the main point.

>> So indeed, a bare text file is *not*
>> a Resource in this sense, rather in the way that my cat cannot answer
>> the telephone, even though you can hear it meowing when I answer the
>> telephone.
> :-)
> I think I have previously taken the view that http requests are  
> 'questions' one asks of 'the web' about things named by URI and that  
> responses are answers from 'the web'


> and have tried (repeatedly) to avoid having the machinery of the web  
> (servers, proxies, conceptual http endpoints etc) intrude into the  
> domain of this discourse - so I'll acknowledge that distinguishing  
> between the file and the machinery (file system) that serves up  
> representations of it crosses that self imposed line.

Well, I also don't want to get too mechanical and all involved with  
proxies and stuff, agreed. But I don't think that making a distinction  
between what one might call Web-passive entities (files, images, ...)  
and Web-active ones requires us to dive deep into the machinery. Think  
of the distinction between agents and non-agents for the kind of  
conceptual level I'm aiming for. And the 'active' thing doesn't have  
to be a file system or anything that specific. But it has to be a  
thing that can, conceptually, **do** something Webbish. If it just  
sits there and exists, then there is no way to even make it be  
relevant to the Web *at all*. Other, of course, than being something  
that can be referred to, but then that encompasses everything.

>> Resources have to be able to Do some Webbish things,
>> participate in the Web architectural dance in some way. They are
>> agents, not files.
> So... we're back roughly at the nub of Alan's question, roughly  
> "...which is it, there resource of which we speak... the  
> (passive)document/work of which the server wa-representations are  
> representations of; or the (active) agent'y entity that provides  
> responses to questions. I believe that the traditional view is that  
> the URI names/identifies/refers-to the document/work thing rather  
> than the (conceptual) machinery in the web (which some have dubbed  
> http-endpoint).

Right, sorry I missed that earlier question. Good question, but Alan  
gives exactly the wrong answer. I'm not sure what tradition he is  
referring to, but the REST/tag/awww answer is surely that it has to be  
the active agent'y entity. Consider: there were files and documents  
and images all over the planet long before the Web was invented. If  
the basic ontology of Web Architectural theory is based on those, then  
how on earth are we to explain what changed when the actual Web came  

>> Seems to me that several very smart people worked hard to get this
>> broad architecture picture worked out, and that we should use it
>> rather than ignore it.
> Certainly... Though I wasn't conscious of ignoring it...

No, sorry, I wasnt aiming this remark at you particularly.


> though maybe I was. Mostly I was trying to point to what I thought  
> was the point of Alan's question which seemed to me to have been  
> missed.
>> Pat
> BR
> Stuart
> --
>>> Stuart
>>> --
>>>> -----Original Message-----
>>>> From: David Booth [mailto:david@dbooth.org]
>>>> Sent: 10 June 2009 11:02
>>>> To: Alan Ruttenberg
>>>> Cc: Pat Hayes; Jonathan Rees; noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com;
>>>> AWWSW TF; Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)
>>>> Subject: Re: Are generic resources intentional?
>>>> On Tue, 2009-06-09 at 22:45 +0100, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
>>>>>> Why not, "can emit a response to some kind of access  
>>>>>> protocol"  ? That seems
>>>>>> to handle all the present and all the likely future cases, be  
>>>>>> unambiguous,
>>>>>> and (by philosophical standards) vividly clear and unambiguous.  
>>>>>> And it has
>>>>>> the great merit of talking about the **actual resource** rather  
>>>>>> than an
>>>>>> awww:representation of it, which (latter) is what gets conveyed  
>>>>>> in messages,
>>>>>> in fact.
>>>>> What does  "can emit a response to some kind of access  
>>>>> protocol"  the answer to?
>>>>> Notably, it doesn't include things like text files with html in  
>>>>> them.
>>>> Sure it can.  If you think of these things as functions from time  
>>>> and
>>>> requests to representations then its representations still may  
>>>> change
>>>> over time (as the file is modified) even if at any given time it  
>>>> always
>>>> emits the same representation regardless of the request.  Or, if  
>>>> you
>>>> take Roy's "curried" view (see
>> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-awwsw/2008Apr/0047.html )
>>>> of these things being functions from time to representation sets,
>>>> then
>>>> even if the representation set is a singleton set at a
>> given time it
>>>> still may be a different singleton set at another time, when
>>>> the file is
>>>> modified.
>>>> -- 
>>>> David Booth, Ph.D.
>>>> Cleveland Clinic (contractor)
>>>> Opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not
>>>> necessarily
>>>> reflect those of Cleveland Clinic.
>> ------------------------------------------------------------
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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 Wednesday, 10 June 2009 14:32:16 UTC

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