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Empty URI & URI references

From: Frans Englich <fenglich@trolltech.com>
Date: Tue, 19 Dec 2006 10:23:20 +0100
To: uri@w3.org
Message-Id: <200612191023.16645.fenglich@trolltech.com>

Hello all,

Is an empty string a valid URI, URI reference, or both?

In my particular case I have a C++ class for representing URIs that for long 
has flagged empty strings as invalid, but when using it to implement 
specifications I am confronted with that some consider it wrong.

When one googles around on this topic one finds lots of confusion, and 
according to my reading, a slight leaning towards treating empty strings as 

* http://www.stylusstudio.com/xmldev/200404/post30160.html
* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uniform_Resource_Identifier#URI_reference
* http://bugs.sun.com/bugdatabase/view_bug.do?bug_id=4478501
* RFC 2396, C.2. Abnormal Examples
* RFC 2396, 4.2. Same-document References

If I'm going to take a shot, I'd say that empty URIs are invalid, but empty 
URI references are valid.

I'd say that URI is more of an abstract concept, and that URI references is 
what we deal with. The latter being the shadow image of the perfect figure we 
cannot touch or see.

So, for a class that 'parses "URIs"', I'd say that accepting the empty string 
is the right thing to do.

Disentanglement, clarification would be highly appreciated.


Received on Tuesday, 19 December 2006 14:31:46 UTC

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