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Re: Rationalizing the term URI

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 23 Jan 2003 14:08:10 -0500
Cc: "<uri@w3.org>" <www-tag@w3.org>
To: "Julian Reschke" <julian.reschke@greenbytes.de>
Message-Id: <0368AF2E-2F06-11D7-B288-000393914268@w3.org>

[suggest followup to uri@w3.org]

On Thursday, Jan 23, 2003, at 09:53 US/Eastern, Julian Reschke wrote:

>> From: uri-request@w3.org [mailto:uri-request@w3.org]On Behalf Of Tim
>> Berners-Lee
>> Sent: Thursday, January 23, 2003 2:25 PM
>> To: uri@w3.org
>> Cc: www-tag@w3.org
>> Subject: Rationalizing the term URI
>> I would very much like us to take the opportunity to clean up the
> terminology
>> on the URI spec which has confused people.  It is my considered 
>> opinion
> that
>> this would be far preferable:
>> URI  - the actual identifier string, with or without a #fragid.
>> URI reference - a string used in a language to specify a URI, for 
>> which
>> relative form may be used where a base exists. ((This is not the  
>> only way
> of
>> specifying the value of a URI - one can use various
>> character sets, namespace prefixes, etc))
>> The spec would do well to define the function from  base and 
>> reference to
>> URI and back again
>>     rel(u, base)      and abs(u, bae)
>> and to point out that you can use abs(rel(u, base), base) for u in all
>> circumstances.
> Well.
> 1) I think it's an extremely bad idea to simply change the definition 
> of the
> term, because it will negatively affect tons of other 
> RFCs/recommendations.
> If you need a simple term to talk about URIs + optional fragment, 
> define a
> new one.

In fact, specifications of languages which call out URIs actually call
out (and indeed should always call out) the uri reference production.
This definition remains unchanged.
And, of course, a spec always calls out a term from a particular version
of another spec. So things don't formally break, but they might add 
Against that is the problem of people actually using URI (or more
often URL) for something which can have a fragid.

I agree, it is bad practice to change definitions.  So it depends on 
there really are more important documents which use "URI" in the 
constrained way.
In many conversations people avoid the term

If you are concerned about common parlance, then I would find that
the words are already used in a mixed way, but probably the term "URI"
is often used when something is not constrained not to have
a fragment identifier.

> 2) On the other hand, *if* the definition is changed, there's no way to
> avoid defining a *new* term for what a URI used to be. Or am I missing
> something?

No, you are not missing anything.
Various things were suggested in the TAG discussion on this topic.
It isn't obvious how often it is needed.

> Julian
> --
> <green/>bytes GmbH -- http://www.greenbytes.de -- tel:+492512807760
Received on Thursday, 23 January 2003 14:07:56 UTC

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