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

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: 07 Apr 2002 18:24:07 -0500
To: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Cc: "'Mark Nottingham'" <mnot@mnot.net>, "'Graham Klyne'" <GK@ninebynine.org>, "'Roy T. Fielding'" <fielding@apache.org>, "'Tim Berners-Lee'" <timbl@w3.org>, "'Paul Prescod'" <paul@prescod.net>, uri@w3.org
Message-Id: <1018221849.26192.5.camel@dirk>
On Sat, 2002-04-06 at 22:39, Larry Masinter wrote:
> There were discussions about 'mailto' on the URI
> list from 1995 through 1998; note, for example, the
> single mailbox & 'resource' theory in 
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/uri/1997Jan/0003.html 
> as opposed to the text in the final RFC.
> RFC 2368 was written to correspond to the practice
> of "mailto", rather than the theory of URIs which
> has them always identifying resources.

I don't see how they conflict.

> A mailto with
> multiple targets and a "subject" line isn't a very
> good resource identifier,


> but it works in hrefs.
> An unadorned "mailto" with a single mailbox identifier
> can also work as a resource identifier.
> So practice doesn't match theory, and trying to
> fit it is pretty unsatisfactory:
> I don't think it's worth it to try to shoehorn
> "mailto:bob@example.org,mary@example.com" into the
> theory that URIs _always_ identify resources. That one
> doesn't,

No? It identifies the group of mailboxes consisting
of bob@example.org and mary@example.com.

> and making up a story about it doesn't help
> out much.

Sure it does: it keeps the architecture clean
and simple. If we're not interested in finding
a clean, simple set of architectural rules
that are consistent with what goes on in
the Web, what are we doing here?

For example, one of the nifty side-effects of
the way URIs work is: if you don't recognize
a scheme, you can proxy it to an HTTP server.
mailto:bob@example.org,mary@example.com works
just fine in that case; it's very straightforward
to redirect to a form for composing mail to that
group of mailboxes, or for searching for mail
to that group of mailboxes, or whatever.

I elaborated on this somewhat in:

 * mailboxes and telephones in the Web (Tue, Mar 19 2002)

> Larry
> -- 
> http://larry.masinter.net
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Sunday, 7 April 2002 19:23:46 UTC

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