W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-lod@w3.org > November 2010

Re: Is 303 really necessary?

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2010 17:51:32 +0000
Message-ID: <4CD2F2A4.6060506@webr3.org>
To: Ian Davis <me@iandavis.com>
CC: public-lod@w3.org
Ian Davis wrote:
> Hi all,
> 
> The subject of this email is the title of a blog post I wrote last
> night questioning whether we actually need to continue with the 303
> redirect approach for Linked Data. My suggestion is that replacing it
> with a 200 is in practice harmless and that nothing actually breaks on
> the web. Please take a moment to read it if you are interested.
> 
> http://iand.posterous.com/is-303-really-necessary

Ian,

Please, don't.

303 is a PITA, and it has detrimental affects across the board from 
network load through to server admin. Likewise #frag URIs have there own 
set of PITA features (although they are nicer on the network and servers).

However, and very critically (if you can get more critical than 
critical!), both of these patterns / constraints are here to ensure that 
  different things have different names, and without that distinction 
our data is junk.

This goes beyond your and my personal opinions, or those of anybody 
here, the constraints are there so that in X months time when 
"multi-corp" trawls the web, analyses it and releases billions of 
statements saying like { </foo> :hasFormat "x"; sioc:about 
dbpedia:Whatever } about each doc on the web, that all of those 
statements are said about documents, and not about you or I, or anything 
else real, that they are said about the right "thing", the correct name 
is used.

And this is critically important, to ensure that in X years time when 
somebody downloads the RDF of 2010 in a big *TB sized archive and 
considers the graph of RDF triples, in order to make sense of some parts 
of it for something important, that the data they have isn't just 
unreasonable junk.

It's not about what we say something is, it's about what others say the 
thing is, and if you 200 OK the URIs you currently 303, then it will be 
said that you are a document, as simple as that. Saying you are a 
document isn't the killer, it's the hundreds of other statements said 
along side that which make things so ambiguous that the info is useless.

If 303s are killing you then use fragment URIs, if you refuse to use 
fragments for whatever reason then use something new like tdb:'s, 
support the data you've published in one pattern, or archive it and 
remove it from the web.

But, for whatever reasons, we've made our choices, each has pro's and 
cons, and we have to live with them - different things have different 
name, and the giant global graph is usable. Please, keep it that way.

Best,

Nathan
Received on Thursday, 4 November 2010 17:52:39 UTC

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