W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > April 2002

Re: Mailto misnamed not misdesigned (Was: Hyperlinks depend on GET (was: Re: REST and the Web))

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Sat, 06 Apr 2002 07:54:47 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@apache.org>, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Cc: "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>, "Paul Prescod" <paul@prescod.net>, uri@w3.org
[I noticed this pair of messages, one from Roy on WWW-tag@w3.org, the other 
from Mark on uri@w3.org.  to avoid cross-posting, I've continued this on 
the URI list only.]

I think Mark's observation here rather underscores Roy's point.  The 
"resource" identified by a mailto: URI would appear to be, in Roy's words, 
"a composition window with the following pre-filled attributes" rather than 
a mailbox.


At 12:38 PM 4/4/02 -0800, Mark Nottingham wrote:
>The 'mailto' [1] and proposed 'sms' [2] schemes allow multiple resources 
>to be identified by a single URI; e.g.,
>   mailto:bob@example.org,mary@example.com
>   sms:+41796431851,+4116321035
>Is this encouraged in new schemes? I.e., is it a good idea to have a 
>one-to-many uri-to-resource mapping?
>1. http://rfc2368.x42.com/
>2. http://www.ietf.org/internet-drafts/draft-wilde-sms-uri-02.txt

At 03:52 PM 4/4/02 -0800, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
>>The mailto:  schema name was badly chosen, but the concept is
>>sound as originally defined.  It was intended simply to be a space
>>in which to put all the internet email addresses, which are called
>>mailboxes.  A mailbox is an abstract thing, related to email messages
>>by (for example)  To: From: and Cc: feilds but also used in many
>>other situations.  It also normally has a relationship with the social
>>-- typically a person or group --which owns it.
>Hmm, well, from my perspective outside the early CERN days, I'd have to 
>Mailto has been consistently defined and implemented to mean "get a 
>window with the following pre-filled attributes."  I absolutely agree that 
>we should have is a URI for a mailbox that can be placed in a form for 
>the action of a POST, but mailto was created before FORM was invented.
>I think it is critical that we not try to redefine the semantics of existing
>URI after they have been introduced to the Web.  If someone wants a generic
>URI for mailbox, they are going to have to invent something other than mailto
>for that purpose.   Wishful thinking is not interoperable.

Graham Klyne
Received on Saturday, 6 April 2002 04:15:52 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.3.1 : Tuesday, 6 January 2015 21:25:04 UTC