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Re: What to do about file:

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Sat, 28 Aug 2004 09:50:02 +0100
Message-Id: <>
To: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>, Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Cc: uri@w3.org

At 23:46 19/08/04 -0400, John Cowan wrote:

>Tim Bray scripsit:
> > No kidding.  It varies more or less as the number of permutations of
> > useragent * platform, with substantial version variation thrown in.  I
> > can see the thinking behind this, but an RFC that says, essentially,
> > "Internet Explorer on post-4.0 versions on Windows platforms does X,
> > while Gecko-based engines on linux platforms do Y, on Windows platforms
> > do Z, while the popular LWP perl library does W, java.net.URI does U...
> > anyhow, such an RFC would feel profoundly weird to me. -Tim
>Not all RFCs prescribe standards, and this is information that would
>be profoundly useful to the Internet community.  Maybe it should be
>a separate informational RFC, or maybe just an informative section
>in the standards-track RFC; that's an editorial question.  But it
>would be excellent to have a single reasonably authoritative place
>to go, rather to have to run one's own experiments all the time.
>This is probably not a part of the system that's really worth standardizing
>anyway, since file: is inherently not interoperable.

Hmmm... as an implementer, I'd like some guidance about how to handle file 
URIs in a way that will work reasonably on common platforms.  Whether or 
not that is called a standard I don't care too much.

(As I've mentioned elsewhere, the main uncertainty I've run into is with 
the handling of Windows/DOS-style drive letters.)

Also, I think that as an interoperability concern, it's not so much browser 
behaviour that matters (where file URI's would not typically be received 
from an application on a different platform), but support libraries that 
map filenames to/from the corresponding file URIs.

Based on my implementation experience, I also think it's a key requirement 
of any guidance that relative URI references work just as well with a file 
base URI as with (say) an http base URI.


Graham Klyne
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Received on Wednesday, 1 September 2004 12:16:58 UTC

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