news: vs. nntp://host (was RE: mailto: + parameters?)

Foteos Macrides (MACRIDES@sci.wfbr.edu)
Sun, 21 Apr 1996 21:26:29 -0500 (EST)


Date: Sun, 21 Apr 1996 21:26:29 -0500 (EST)
From: Foteos Macrides <MACRIDES@sci.wfbr.edu>
Subject: news: vs. nntp://host (was RE: mailto: + parameters?)
To: connolly@beach.w3.org
Cc: www-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <01I3TG7ZYBNA0070CU@SCI.WFBR.EDU>

"Daniel W. Connolly" <connolly@beach.w3.org> wrote:
>In message <01I3N5YZXAEG001840@SCI.WFBR.EDU>, Foteos Macrides writes:
>>>
>>>Hmmm.. I wouldn't say that.  [... why Dan SHOULD say it was
                                     discussed previously ...]
>The interoperability principle is only a few rungs above the
>extensibility principle, after all.
>
>
>>	That was also the reason, wasn't it, for adding nntp as an
>>access type which accepts a host field, and leaving news as an access
>>type which uses an independently configured host?
>
>That was another bogus idea. There's nothing wrong with:
>
>	news://foo.com/comp.text.sgml
>
>No conflict at all.
>
>>  That's another
>>interoperability principle, embodied in RFC 1738, which has been
>>trashed.
>
>How does this cause interoperability problems? Where is the
>case where a conforming implementation will behave unreliably?

	It's not a bogus idea.  It reflects the original values of the
Web as a cross-platform, cross-protocol, INTEROPERABLE, content-rich,
information sharing system.

	The NNTP protocol is like mail in that the articles are referenced
analogously to a usename@host, and can include characters that are reserved
in the http protocol.  Also, NNTP servers almost universally have restricted
access.  Therefore, news URLs were structured analogously to mailto URLs

	news:*
	news:comp.infosystems.www.authoring.html
	news:j462#36487@foo.bar

and the client is configured to use an NNTP server to which it has access
rights.  That '#' does *not* mean what it normally would in a URL, and
should not be parsed as when in other URLs.

	To allow for specification of a host if multiple servers are
available to a client, a separate, "nntp" scheme exists, and *that*
is what a client with earnest concern for interoperability should use,
not "news", when specification of an NNTP server is needed in the URL.

	How does Netscape's behavior cause interoperability problems?
Take a look at the "W3C Reference Library".   That may have become an
anachronism in "today's market place", but it's not bogus, is it?
(I hope not, 'cuz I "reference" it regularly. 8-).

	Which isn't to say that the nntp scheme is well designed.  It
is well intended, but not well designed.  RFC1738 specifies that a
news group element should precede an article element in the path
field, and that's not a good idea because articles are not tied to
a news group (they could have been multiply cross-posted).  Also, it
does not specify that reserved characters in the path field should
be hex escaped, and it would be better if they were.

				Fote

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 Foteos Macrides            Worcester Foundation for Biomedical Research
 MACRIDES@SCI.WFBR.EDU         222 Maple Avenue, Shrewsbury, MA 01545
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