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draft-hoffman-news-nntp-uri-02.txt

From: Charles Lindsey <chl@clerew.man.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 05 Nov 2004 13:44:50 -0000
To: uri@w3.org
Message-ID: <opsgzu40hb6hl8nm@localhost>

This draft seems pretty good as regards the news scheme, so my quibbles  
are just for tidying things up.

2.  Scheme Definition

Perhaps that should be "The news URL scheme", and keep Section 3 for the  
nntp scheme.

    The news and nntp URL schemes are used to refer to either news groups
    or individual articles of USENET news, as specified in RFC 1036.

    The news URL takes the form:

       newsURL     = "news"  ":" [ news-server ]
                        ( newsgroup-name | '*' | message-id )
       news-server =  "//" server "/"
       message-id  = id-left "@" id-right

    <server> is defined in [2396bis].  Note that there is widespread use
    of the username-password authentication in news servers, so news
    clients should implement this part of the <server> syntax.

Maybe that "should" is a bit too strong, and there should be some warning  
that username-password authentication has security risks. Also, Port  
numbers need to be mentioned. So how about:

<server> is defined in [2396bis], and provides for a <host>, a <port>  
(defaulting to 119 in this scheme) and possibly a username/password. This  
latter is usually deprecated on security grounds, but is still in  
widespread use on current news servers and so clients MAY implement it.

{There are currently drafts in hand for SASL and TLS for the NNTP  
protocol, so the practice should disappear gradually, but I am still  
concerned that there seems to be no way for URL schemes to cope with SASL.}

Then I think you need to say:
    If no <server> is specified, the resources are to be retrieved from
    whatever server has been configured for local use.
just to save the bother of repeating it three times in what follows.

2.1  The newsURL has a <newsgroup-name>

2.2  The newsURL has a *

2.3  The newsURL has a <message-id>

Those three sections are mostly fine, if you move the repeated sentence as  
I suggested above. However, under the <message-id> case you need to say:

    A <message-id> corresponds to the <msg-id> of RFC 2822 and to the
    Message-ID of section 2.1.5 of RFC 1036, but without the enclosing
    "<" and ">".

which comes almost verbatim from RFC 1738. There is often confusion as to  
whether those enclosing "<" and ">" are meant to be present, and some  
implementations of this scheme are tolerant enough to allow them.



    For example, neither

       news:"abcd"@example.com

    nor

       "ab\cd"@example.com
      ^
      news:

    is in canonical form, because the form

       abcd@example.com
      ^
      news:

    is available.

2.4  The nntp URL scheme

So I would call this section 3. Here is a suggested text:

    The nntp URL schemes is used to refer to individual articles of USENET
    news, as specified in RFC 1036.

    The nntp URL takes the form:


       nntpURL     = "nntp"  ":" news-server newsgroup-name "/" range
       news-server =  "//" server "/"
       range       = article-number ["-" [article-number]]
       article-number = 1*DIGIT

{The syntax for <range> is taken from draft-ietf-nntpext-base-21.txt, so  
you could instead refer to that. The syntax for <news server> probably  
does not need to be repeated here.}

    Observe, in contradistinction to the news scheme, that the <news-server>
    is not optional here, because the mapping from <article-numbers> to
    actual articles is unique to each server.

3.1  The range is a single <article-number>

    The resource retrieved by this URL is the Netnews article numbered
    by the given <article-number> in the given <newsgroup-name> on the
    given <server>.

3.2  The range encompasses more than a single <article-number>

    The resource retrieved by this URL is some means to gain access to
    the articles numbered within the given <range> of <article-
    number>s in the given <newsgroup-name> on the given <server>
    (usually by invoking a suitable news reading agent initialized to
    access that range). A <range> of the form "nnnn-" provides access to
    all articles numbered "nnnn" and above.

{Having said all that, is the form "nnnn-mmmm" actually implemented  
anywhere? RFC 1738 provided just a single <article-number>. OTOH, I can  
see that the form "nnnn-" could be useful to people for keeping track of  
the last <article-number> read who now want to see everything newly  
arrived since then. I even do this myself on servers that do not support  
the NEWNEWS command (but by making the direct NNTP calls, not by using any  
URL).}

{And finally, if we all agree that the nntp scheme is now properl;y  
defined, we can go back to the question of whether the two schemes should  
be combined, though I think it would probably be better not to.}

-- 
Charles H. Lindsey ---------At Home, doing my own thing------------------------
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Received on Friday, 5 November 2004 16:32:49 GMT

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