W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > September 2009

Re: ISSUE-81 (resource vs representation)

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Sun, 27 Sep 2009 23:56:48 -0700
Message-Id: <F2C44B34-D583-4ED7-BB35-D7EE7C6A66F9@gbiv.com>
Cc: "public-html@w3.org WG" <public-html@w3.org>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
On Sep 27, 2009, at 5:44 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Sun, 27 Sep 2009, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
>>
>> If you think it is going to help progress on HTML5 for us to replay
>> fifteen years of debate on what a resource is for the Web, then  
>> please
>> explain why Ian's opinion is sufficient to contradict existing  
>> practice
>> on the Web, all other W3C specifications, the normative Internet
>> standard, my own dissertation, and the entire world-view of RDF.
>
> It's not all other W3C specifications (I looked at CSS specs, DOM  
> specs,
> HTML4, XMLHttpRequest, SVG, and XML, and they all used "resource"  
> in the
> generic sense of "bag of bits", not the abstract sense you  
> advocate). It's
> also not all internet standards, e.g. ECMAScript uses it in the  
> generic
> sense too. I don't think your dissertation really has any bearing  
> on this
> (or can we include my blog posts in this dicussion also?), and  
> RDF's world
> view is so out of touch with the needs and desires of most Web  
> developers
> that it really is stretching things to invoke RDF here.

I've had the same argument a thousand times over the past fifteen
years and the Web resource still means the same thing today.  The same
term is used for a lot of things that are general computing resources,
but no spec considers the thing identified by a resource identifier
to be a bag of bits.  The last time that view was espoused was when
GET was the only HTTP method and these things were called
Universal Document Identifiers.

> If you think HTTP and other specs should continue to use the abstract
> terminology you advocate, please explain why your opinion is  
> sufficient to
> contradict the terminology used by the majority of Web developers.

Stop the bullshit, Ian.  The terminology used by the majority of
Web developers is that a URI is used to identify a resource for
the sake of manipulating its current state.  Maybe if you spent
a little more time talking to Web developers instead of just
browser developers, you might understand why the architecture is
specified the way it is currently.

A resource is not a bag of bits.  A bag of bits can't act as a
gateway for sending SMS messages to cellphones.  A bag of bits
can't maintain a constant sense of identity when the bits change
upon every observation.  A bag of bits can't respond to a POST
with a 204.  A bag of bits does not remotely control a robot
arm on the other side of the world.  A bag of bits does not in
any way appreciably reflect the significance of
"http://twitter.com/hixie": not today, not last week, and
certainly not as a continuation over time.

My definitions are based on fact after extensive research.
They work in all cases, not just the one you happen to have
experience using, including all of the cases necessary to
specify HTML5.

>> HTML is not a standalone specification.  It is part of the World Wide
>> Web architecture.  If you don't want to standardize within the
>> constraints of the Web, then feel free to change the name of the
>> specification to something else.
>
> The W3C asked us to rename it to HTML5, actually. It used to be  
> called Web
> Applications 1.0.

I know that.  It is time for you to start taking the new title
seriously.

....Roy
Received on Monday, 28 September 2009 06:57:29 UTC

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