W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > June 2008

Re: heads-up about "new" URLs section in HTML5 editor's draft

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Sun, 29 Jun 2008 21:02:50 -0700
Message-Id: <6842F3A9-5BBD-4A8B-BB54-73C116EE8785@gbiv.com>
Cc: public-html@w3.org
To: Michael (tm) Smith <mike@w3.org>

Please note that we spent 12 years reaching a global agreement on
the meaning of URI, URL, URN, Web addresses, or whatever else you
might call them, in order for all implementations to be interoperable
and for all protocols to obey the same restrictions on generation
of those identifiers.  The result is IETF STD 66, RFC 3986, and
it defines the most important standard of all the standards that
make up what we call the Web.

I suggest that the section be removed or replaced with the
limited and specific needs for parsing href and src attribute
values such that the attribute's value string is mapped to a
URI-reference with a defined base-URI.  HTML owns that process
of extracting a valid URI-reference from an attribute's value
string.  A simple string parsing description, with associated
context-specific error-handling, is more than sufficient to
satisfy the needs of HTML5 without appearing to override an
existing standard that has recently been agreed to by all
vendors, including the few browser vendors that care about HTML5.

In contrast, pretending to define a new URL standard as part
of HTML5 is not acceptable.  HTML5 is a user of the Web, not a
definer of it.  HTML will never define the identifiers for the Web.
That would be a fundamental violation of the Web architecture.

....Roy


On Jun 27, 2008, at 3:49 AM, Michael(tm) Smith wrote:

> For those who aren't actively following checkins/changes to the
> editor's draft of HTML5 spec: This is a heads-up that among the
> significant changes to the draft that have been made since the
> second public working draft earlier this month -- perhaps the most
> significant content change that has been made since the 2nd public
> working draft -- is section 2.3, "URLs":
>
>   http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#urls
>
> In previous drafts, the URLs section was a just a placeholder,
> with an editorial note about what it would eventually contain.
> But it is now fairly complete (as far as meeting its intended
> purposes). The intended purposes of the section are to:
>
>   - define the following terms:
>      - URL
>      - valid URL
>      - absolute URL
>      - base URL
>      - document base URL
>      - input [URL]
>      - common setter action [for URLs]
>   - specify URL parsing rules for user agents
>   - specify how user agents must resolve a URL (how to obtain an
>     absolute URL by resolving a URL relative to a base URL)
>   - define interfaces for URL manipulation and related URL
>     decomposition attributes
>
> Note in particular that the introduction to the section outlines
> it broad purpose as follows:
>
>   This specification defines the term URL, and defines various
>   algorithms for dealing with URLs, because for historical reasons
>   the rules defined by the URI and IRI specifications are not a
>   complete description of what HTML user agents need to implement
>   to be compatible with Web content.
>
> Also be aware that the HTML5 draft specification intentionally
> redefines the term "URL" in a way that is not completely
> consistent with how that term is used in other existing
> specifications -- and to make that more clear, the following note
> was added:
>
>   The term "URL" in this specification is used in a manner
>   distinct from the precise technical meaning it is given in RFC
>   3986. Readers familiar with that RFC will find it easier to read
>   this specification if they pretend the term "URL" as used herein
>   is really called something else altogether.
>
> The rationale for redefining the term "URL" -- and for including
> the sections that specify URL parsing rules for user agents and
> how user agents must resolve URLs -- is provided in the "URLs"
> section introduction:
>
>   This specification defines the term URL, and defines various
>   algorithms for dealing with URLs, because for historical reasons
>   the rules defined by the URI and IRI specifications are not a
>   complete description of what HTML user agents need to implement
>   to be compatible with Web content.
>
> Also note the throughout the draft, a number of instances of the
> terms "URI" and "IRI" have now been replaced with the term "URL".
>
>   --Mike
>
> -- 
> Michael(tm) Smith
> http://people.w3.org/mike/
> http://sideshowbarker.net/
Received on Monday, 30 June 2008 04:04:33 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Monday, 29 September 2014 09:38:55 UTC