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RE: non-http uris

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Mon, 7 Jan 2008 16:59:57 -0500
To: "Mike Schinkel" <mikeschinkel@gmail.com>
Cc: "'Erik Wilde'" <dret@berkeley.edu>, uri@w3.org
Message-ID: <OFC753CA23.43F565B0-ON852573C9.0074D23E-852573C9.0078A2B3@lotus.com>

Mike Schinkel writes:

> [Noah Mendelsohn wrote:]
> 
> > It's quite possible that it's conveniently 
> > meeting the short term needs of early users, while 
> > sacrificing potentially important long term benefits such as 
> > integration with the browsable Web, etc. 
> 
> Just curious, is that a general principle but not for these specifics, 
or
> specifically related to this question? 

I think you're asking whether there's always a tension between getting 
things out for early experimentation, vs. getting things right in the long 
term.  I don't claim any special expertise on that question, but there's a 
related question that I know the TAG is concerned about:  scheme names are 
a precious resource, in a very particular sense.  Unlike DNS names, which 
are hierarchical, or GUIDs, which can be minted freely, scheme names have 
no substructure, no distributed means of allocation, and yet they must be 
used unambiguously.  The same is true for many other short names in the 
Web architecture, such as the link type [1] values of rel= attributes, the 
types and to some degree the subtypes that comprise a media-type, and so 
on. 

The problem with Erik putting out an experimental geocode schema, in my 
opinion, is that he may not be the only one with that idea.  Maybe now, or 
a in a few years someone will come up with a better one.  Perhaps Erik 
will only allow for 2 dimensional coding and someone will decide that 
height is important.  Perhaps he'll get the resolution "wrong".  Well, if 
he'd just made up a namespace or an HTTP URI, anyone else could just make 
another one.  Once he's started getting people to deploy URIs of the form 
"geocode:xxxx,yyyy" then for all time that must be the only use of that 
scheme.  Otherwise, when you come upon a link, you won't know whether it's 
an "old" one based on his conventions, or a new one.
 
> Do you have a current opinion on what would be best, or do you 
> just think it
> needs a lot more exploration?

Well, if at all possible, I'd try to use http-scheme URIs.  Insofar as 
there's a deep belief that a separate scheme is needed, I would try to go 
through a very careful process of requirements gathering, community 
discussion, debate, etc. leading up to an IETF RFC or W3C Recommendation. 
What I'm very reluctant about is to see a scheme go out for experiemental 
use until such careful design and debate has happened. There are many 
aspects of Web architecture with which it is easy to deploy experimental 
implementations.  Unless I'm missing something, the tradeoffs in 
experimenting with new schemes are much trickier.

Noah

[1] http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/types.html#type-links

--------------------------------------
Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
1-617-693-4036
--------------------------------------
Received on Monday, 7 January 2008 21:59:30 GMT

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