W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-awwsw@w3.org > February 2011

Re: hold up

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Sat, 26 Feb 2011 14:51:22 -0500
Message-ID: <AANLkTinxHnV5Hyrx5Cr5gfFb+DVc06FswoiUDzEFkkNN@mail.gmail.com>
To: nathan@webr3.org
Cc: AWWSW TF <public-awwsw@w3.org>
On Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM, Nathan <nathan@webr3.org> wrote:
> Jonathan Rees wrote:
>> On Sat, Feb 26, 2011 at 4:26 AM, Nathan <nathan@webr3.org> wrote:
>>> I've just been reading huge chunks of archived messages again, and
>>> there's a
>>> consistent phrase coming out that's just flat out wrong.
>>>  "a representation of the resource"
>>> that's not what HTTP and the specs say, a representation is a
>>> representation
>>> of the current or intended state of a resource. not a representation of
>>> the
>>> resource.
>> While I agree that the first is unjustified, I'm not convinced that
>> the second has any support in the specs, other than fleeting mention
>> in AWWW.
> this seems pretty clear to me:
>   A "representation" is information in a format that can be readily
>   communicated from one party to another.  A resource representation is
>   information that reflects the state of that resource, as observed at
>   some point in the past (e.g., in a response to GET) or to be desired
>   at some point in the future (e.g., in a PUT request).
> http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-httpbis-p3-payload-12#section-4

I wasn't counting HTTPbis as a 'spec' because it hasn't gone to last
call (or equivalent) yet... but you're right, Roy is pushing this new
terminology (borrowed from AWWW perhaps), and I'm not exactly happy
about it, but I'm not sure what harm it will result.

> but even regardless of that, if you GET a 200 OK then the URI must refer to
> a resource,

I could argue against this... what it refers to depends on who is
writing and reading the reference...

> which has a state (even if that state is just existence),

... not clear to me ...

> and
> the HTTP Interface is a property of that resource,

... not at all clear to me, and this seems to contradict TimBL's view
that Moby Dick the novel is an information resource ...

> therefore the class of
> all HTTP resources

definition please?

> must be the class of all things which exist and have the
> HTTP Interface as a property - we can say everything else is hidden by the
> interface, but the aforemention still remains true, does it not?

How would you know of a given thing, say seven or the color white or
the George Washington Bridge, that it did *not* "have the HTTP
Interface as a property"? (Other than by reading and believing what
TimBL and I have been saying on the subject?)

You have to be very careful here because "resources" and
"representations" and "state" and all that are at best theories, at
worst gibberish, or fetishes. Talking about this stuff ontologically
is just begging for trouble. We are not linguists or philosophers, we
are engineers, and we need to talk like engineers. When I say that in
my opinion a dereferenceable URI ought to refer to the information
resource at that URI, I am not talking ontology, I have very
operational and consequential behavior in mind. I spent a lot of time
scouring the specs for the kind of ontological hints you seem to be
looking for, and concluded that they're just not there. That's why I
think we need a consensus document - some solution needs to be
engineered, and neither the RFCs nor the TAG's resolution gives the
community what it needs.

Received on Saturday, 26 February 2011 19:51:57 UTC

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