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Re: Proposed Charter and Agenda for IRI BOF at IETF 76

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Fri, 25 Sep 2009 12:19:41 -0700
Message-Id: <FC874430-993B-45CF-9919-5F9B686879C5@gbiv.com>
To: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Larry, your changes to the IRI draft make it incomprehensible.

I think this is getting ridiculous.  We don't need a working group.
We don't even need an updated draft, at least not for LEIRI, Href,
and whatever it is that we call HTML5 references.

HTML5 wants to specify the *process* of taking arbitrary data entry
in various places and transforming it into a) something the browser
displays, and b) a URI for use on the wire.  What they are calling URL
is the arbitrary data entry part, NOT the resulting URI, which is why
it is so frigging annoying and inconsistent with all other standards.
LEIRI made the same mistake.

The purpose of IRI is to specify the allowed syntax for what one
might see on the side of a bus as a Web address in i18n-friendly,
human-readable form.  That is why the IRI syntax does not allow
common delimiters like whitespace, quotes, and brackets (except
for IPv6 literals).  It does not define a data-entry box.

URI is in the same boat, except that it also defines the allowed
syntax for on-the-wire usage in HTTP, etc.  It is intentionally
limited for use in embedded plain text.  It does not define a
data entry box.

Both IRI and URI are intended to define standards for the Internet
in the same way as the US Postal Service residential addresses have
a standard normal form.  The fact that an envelope does not prevent
a person from writing an arbitrary form of address in the hope that
a mail carrier can interpret it for them is not an indication that
the standard is somehow "wrong" -- what matters is that following
the standard is known to be interoperable, and everything else is
just an experiment in forgiveness.

What HTML5 wants to define is how to process a data entry box
in the same way across all browser implementations, and there is
nothing wrong with such a definition appearing in HTML5 *except*
for the fact that the editor has chosen an existing well-known
term that means something else to describe it, which conflicts
with all prior uses of that term.  Just stop that nonsense by
changing the HTML5 draft wording to talk about references, not URLs.
HTML5 does not require changes to IRI, and certainly not to URI.

Changing IRI (or URI) so that it conforms both to the side of a
bus definition and a data entry definition is insane.  They are
not the same thing.  They do not share the same concerns.  A
reference might allow anything, depending on its context and the
technology used to parse it; it is the post-processing that
produces an IRI/URI.

Received on Friday, 25 September 2009 19:20:20 UTC

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