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Same URI? [was: Re: BIG ISSUES]

From: Al Gilman <asgilman@iamdigex.net>
Date: Fri, 21 Sep 2001 15:38:50 -0400
Message-Id: <Version.32.20010920234002.041b3260@pop.iamdigex.net>
Message-Id: <Version.32.20010920234002.041b3260@pop.iamdigex.net>
To: Anne Pemberton <apembert@erols.com>, <gv@trace.wisc.edu>, "GLWAI Guidelines WG \(GL - WAI Guidelines WG\)" <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
At 08:07 PM 2001-09-20 , Anne Pemberton wrote:

> I'm a bit unclear on the meaning of the acronym URI ... I 
>originally assumed it meant URL, but have seen it used such that it 
>suggests it may be the web site rather than the specific page address that 
>can contain any equivalent versions ... This was under Elephant #11 ... and 
>if it means that a URI is a web site (an address and it's subdirectories, 
>etal) it will neatly suit meeting the needs of all disabled persons without 
>having to draw a line anywhere ....

Let's go to the latest rehash of the consensed items. I believe that the one
you are referring to is 

S1 - serving content in different forms is an acceptable way to comply
with the guidelines as long as equivalents for all of the information
are provided in the different forms and it is all available through the
same URI (though it may be linked to it) (server side solutions are
acceptable  as specified)

Here the extension to "somewhere on the same site" is by the parenthetical
remark "though it may be linked to it." 

I had been interpreting the "from the same URI" in a strict sense and was
preparing to object until this parenthetical remark sunk in. There is a
technique known as content negotiation in which a URL can get you different
things depending on what you have set in your Accept: headers. This give
transparent access to alternatives.

The point is that this level of transparency is not meant to be _required_ by
the consensus, at least the way I read the way Gregg wrote it up. If the
alternative is not immediately at the same URL by transparent content
negotiation, it is still conforming if the alternatives are easy to discover
and navigate to, starting at that URL. This implies that a root, home, or
entry page where people are likeliest to start should be very broadly
usable so
that people can find their way from there to the section that is best for

It's not quite true that being elsewhere on the same site is enough. You have
to have web-linked the site together enough, too. But so long as the path to
what you want is via well-greased skids through stuff you can use, then it's

On the technicalities, a URL is a URI, and saying 'a URI' doesn't somehow
expand the reference to include the whole site. There is no
<http://www.foo.bar/>http://www.foo.bar/* way to refer to the whole site as a

We should have a FAQ on "why do all the web specifications say URIs and all
pages contain URLs?" 

Received on Friday, 21 September 2001 15:35:17 UTC

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