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Re: comments on Web Architecture First Edition

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 06 May 2004 09:36:32 -0500
To: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>
Cc: public-webarch-comments@w3.org, w3c-rdfcore-wg@w3.org
Message-Id: <1083854191.32023.35.camel@dirk>

On Wed, 2004-05-05 at 15:00, Pat Hayes wrote:
> > On Wed, 2004-03-17 at 16:38, Pat Hayes wrote:
[...]
> > > Which could be paraphrased as "A resource can be anything, and
> > > everything is a resource".
> > 
> > yes, quite.
> 
> 
> Well, then, it is hard to resist asking the question, why did y'all
> feel obliged to (mis)-use a word when there already were perfectly
> good words you could have used, such as "entity" or even the plainer
> "thing" ?

Fair question...

The term 'resource' was chosen as the universal set in web developer
discussions so old that I can't even find the archives.
The usage goes back to at least 1994, with
discussion of URLs, URIs, and even URCs (a precursor to RDF).
  http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/uri/1994Dec/

The XLink spec followed suit, to some extent:

[[
The notion of resources is universal to the World Wide Web. [Definition:
As discussed in [IETF RFC 2396], a resource is any addressable unit of
information or service.] Examples include files, images, documents,
programs, and query results.
]]
 -- http://www.w3.org/TR/xlink/#N789

I suppose that just re-raises the question of whether 'resource'
is the universal set or something smaller.

I suppose we could choose 'thing' as the universal set, but that
would be a pretty major educational undertaking in at least some
communities. Maybe those communities are smaller than the ones
that use 'resource' as the universal set.

As to 'entity'... the web specs (MIME, HTTP) use "entity" to mean
a generalization of the RFC822 header/body structure.

"entity
        The information transferred as the payload of a request or
        response."
  -- http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec1.html#sec1

Hmm... that spec seems to use 'resource' for something smaller
than the universal set...

"resource
        A network data object or service that can be identified by a
        URI, as defined in section 3.2."

then in 3.2:

"As far as HTTP is concerned, Uniform Resource Identifiers are simply
formatted strings which identify--via name, location, or any other
characteristic--a resource."


[... much elided ...]

-- 
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
see you at the WWW2004 in NY 17-22 May?
Received on Thursday, 6 May 2004 10:36:28 EDT

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