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Re: URI for abstract concepts (domain, host, origin, site, etc.)

From: Erik Wilde <dret@berkeley.edu>
Date: Fri, 26 Jun 2009 10:30:17 +0200
Message-ID: <4A448719.5080203@berkeley.edu>
To: URI <uri@w3.org>
CC: Michael Hausenblas <michael.hausenblas@deri.org>, Felix Sasaki <felix.sasaki@fh-potsdam.de>

i think there is a lot of meat in this discussion from the perspective 
of web architecture. to a large extent, this is getting back to the old 
question about "when to create new URI schemes".

Larry Masinter wrote:
> urn:tdb::data:,the%20host%20www.ccil.org

this is an interesting approach, and creates completely opaque URIs, not 
that much different from data:, i think. in general, the options for 
identifying something that is not by its very nature a HTTP-accessible 
resource are:

- use http: anyway with some special rules attached (eg, httpRange-14).
- use an opaque scheme such as data: or urn:tdb::
- create a new scheme.

i think there is value to a new scheme if there are specific 
interactions with resources of that new type. for example, there is a 
lot of value now in tel: URIs because more and more browsers also are 
phones, so they can provide users with a useful (and non-HTTP) way of 
interacting with the identified resources (HTTP-only browsers could use 
skype or provide phone book lookup services, too, btw). anyway, my point 
is that tel: now proves its utility because URIs can simply refer to a 
phone and by the mere fact of identifying them, there are well-known 
methods of interaction. it's really just following a hyperlink, only 
that the link takes the user outside of the realm of HTTP.

the reason why i am bringing this old debate up again is that felix, 
michael (cc'ed) and i will start a W3C incubation group soon, which will 
look at "location and the web". one of my goals there is to explore the 
question of a possible location URI scheme (among other things), because 
i think that there are many interesting and rich interactions around 
resources of the "location" type. i do know there will be pushback (i 
proposed it on uri@w3.org a while ago and the main pushback was to go 
the "everything should be a HTTP URI" route), but a W3C incubation group 
will be the perfect vehicle for discussing the merits of different 
approaches of how to make the web location-aware.

and regardless of the location theme, i think the general question of 
"when to mint URI schemes" is a very interesting one. my working theory 
still is that it should be done if (and maybe only if) there are known 
or predicted methods (that's fuzzy, but i cannot think of a better way 
of saying it) of how to interact with that specific kind of resource.


erik wilde   tel:+1-510-6432253 - fax:+1-510-6425814
        dret@berkeley.edu  -  http://dret.net/netdret
        UC Berkeley - School of Information (ISchool)
Received on Friday, 26 June 2009 08:31:20 UTC

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