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

Re: ISSUE-81 (resource vs representation)

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Mon, 28 Sep 2009 08:39:59 +0000 (UTC)
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: Maciej Stachowiak <mjs@apple.com>, Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "public-html@w3.org" <public-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0909280827180.15464@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Mon, 28 Sep 2009, Julian Reschke wrote:
> > >
> > > if the "resource" is a bag-of-bits, what is the thing you send a 
> > > POST request to?
> > 
> > You send the POST request to an HTTP server, and the HTTP server 
> > responds with a resource.
> 
> So you have renamed "representation of resource" to "resource", and lost 
> the ability to call an HTTP resource "resource".
> 
> You are *causing* confusion, not reducing it.

No, the confusion is caused by trying to reference something that doesn't 
exist. There is no such thing as what you call a "resource" -- it's an 
abstract concept that has no correspondance to the real world. It is 
unnecessary and makes talking about our infrastructure more complicated.


> So it appears you want to [use] "resource" exclusively with protocols 
> that give you well-delimited bag-of-bits responses?

As far as I'm aware, that is by and large what HTML5 does, yes. For 
brevity, I have used the term "resource" even in cases where arbitrary 
URLs can be used and actually applying the semantics of the URL could 
result in a result other than obtaining an actual resource, but I don't 
think this has led to any ambiguities in the spec's requirements.

For example, one could have:

   <link rel="author" href="mailto:author@example.com" title="Mail me">

...which the HTML5 spec says is a hyperlink, and it goes on to say that 
the UA might provide a UI that incldes the "title of the resource (given 
by the title attribute)", though of course in this case there's no actual 
resource: if the user does follow that hyperlink, the navigation algorithm 
will abort before anything to do with resources happens (namely in what is 
currently step 7).

Since the use of "resource" here is harmless (it causes no confusion, and 
the requirements remain unambiguous), I haven't looked for other 
terminology. Changing this to "representation of the resource" in this 
case would do nothing to improve the clarity (and would be just as wrong).

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 28 September 2009 08:32:29 UTC

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