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

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Sat, 6 Apr 2002 11:35:41 -0800
Cc: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@apache.org>, "Tim Berners-Lee" <timbl@w3.org>, "Paul Prescod" <paul@prescod.net>, uri@w3.org
To: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Message-Id: <7AB19F18-4995-11D6-9E19-000A27836A68@mnot.net>
 From 2368 [1]:

    A mailto URL designates an "internet resource", which is the mailbox
    specified in the address. When additional headers are supplied, the
    resource designated is the same address, but with an additional
    profile for accessing the resource.

It goes on to say that typical use is to compose/send a message, but I 
couldn't find language that constrains mailto from being used for other 

This being the case, I'd question whether anything is being redefined. 
If anything, supporting the view that mailto identifies a message would 
require revising 2368.

A reasonable interpretation may be that mailto's dereference function is 
the composition of a message; that doesn't preclude its use for other 
identifying purposes (although I think my original question re: multiple 
resources is valid, when as per above mailto clearly identifies a 
mailbox as a resource).

1. http://rfc2368.x42.com/

On Friday, April 5, 2002, at 10:54  PM, Graham Klyne wrote:

> [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.
> #g
> --
> 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
>>> entity
>>> -- typically a person or group --which owns it.
>> Hmm, well, from my perspective outside the early CERN days, I'd have 
>> to disagree.
>> Mailto has been consistently defined and implemented to mean "get a 
>> composition
>> window with the following pre-filled attributes."  I absolutely agree 
>> that what
>> we should have is a URI for a mailbox that can be placed in a form for 
>> defining
>> 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.
>> ....Roy
> -------------------
> Graham Klyne
> <GK@NineByNine.org>
Mark Nottingham
Received on Saturday, 6 April 2002 14:35:46 UTC

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