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Re: usage of 'resource' vs 'representation' in HTML 5, CSS, HTML 4, SVG, ...

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Thu, 10 Dec 2009 11:19:02 +0000 (UTC)
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Cc: www-archive@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0912101112350.19122@hixie.dreamhostps.com>
On Thu, 10 Dec 2009, Julian Reschke wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> > On Wed, 9 Dec 2009, Dan Connolly wrote:
> > > I find that usage of "identify" very unappealing. I think normal 
> > > usage of "identify" is unambiguous. If I say "In this game, teams 
> > > are identified by color" and then told you that blue identifies team 
> > > X and a different team Y, you'd consider that nonsense.
> > 
> > Yet that's exactly what happens. You play a game of Carcassone with me 
> > and Dom, and Green represents me. Yet if one hour later you play the 
> > game again but with Mike and Doug, suddenly Green might represent Mike 
> > instead. The colour here is an identifier, but what it identifies 
> > changes discretely over time. The color is a URL. The player is a 
> > resource. In the
> 
> The person is a resource. The player identified by Green is a resource. 
> They are not necessarily the same.

The player identified by green is the person.


> > rules it refers to "the green player", just like we refer to "the 
> > http://google.com/ page", without meaning a particular bag of bits. 
> > Yet
> 
> In this case, "we" excludes me. When I say that, I do *not* refer to a 
> particular bag of bits.

I think you misread what I wrote, or objected to the wrong part of what I 
wrote, because your objection here doesn't make sense (you're denying what 
I said and then saying exactly what I said).


> > when you are playing the game, if you say "the green player" you mean 
> > the actual person, just like we refer to "the http://google.com/ page" 
> > as meaning the exact bag of bits. The two usages are trivially 
> > distinguishable by context.
> > 
> > Just like a variable whose value is an object is used simultaneously 
> > to refer to whatever object it points to, which can change over time, 
> > and the actual object that it points to at a particular moment in 
> > time.
> > 
> > I don't think I've ever come across anyone trying to try to 
> > distinguish these two concepts before reading the HTTP/URI specs, and 
> > I don't think I've come across anyone trying to distinguish them since 
> > outside of people involved in the development of those specs or people 
> > close to them.
> 
> If you want to maintain the notion of "a resource is a bag of bits" it 
> would be helpful if you'd describe how this definition helps in 
> explaining when you POST to an HTTP resource.

It doesn't. You don't POST to an HTTP resource. You POST to an HTTP 
server, giving it a path name, headers, and an entity body, and it returns 
a resource. This use of the term leads to a far more straightforward 
understanding of the process, as it is grounded in concrete interactions 
rather than being based on abstract concepts that regular people don't 
ever knowingly refer to.

To continue the analogy of the game: when you give points to a player, 
you're giving the points to the actual person, not to an abstract concept. 
It isn't helpful to talk about giving points to the abstract concept of 
the green player as distinct from the person who is the green player.

-- 
Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Thursday, 10 December 2009 11:19:43 GMT

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