Re: RFD: Adding alias names to links and resources in HTML

Rob (
Fri, 25 Apr 1997 05:29:59 +0000

Message-Id: <>
From: "Rob" <>
To: James Aylett <>,
Date: Fri, 25 Apr 1997 05:29:59 +0000
Subject: Re: RFD: Adding alias names to links and resources in HTML 

James Aylett <> wrote in reply to my message:

> > A useful feature to add to Cougar would be the use of logical names 
> > (aliases) for resources using the <link> tag.  Links in documents 
> > would refer to the logical name of the resource, with that name being 
> > defined (in a shared file) with the actual URL.
> Isn't this part of the idea behind URNs (Universal Resource Names)? I
> think this could be achieved better if you used URNs, but specified (via a
> LINK element in the HEAD of the HTML document) the specific URN database
> or server to use - assuming that is that I've got the ideas right here.

Yes and no. My suggestion is for specific aliases for a collection
of related resources that are defined and controlled by the document
author, meant for ease of maintenance of pages on a site. Combined 
with the 'scribblings' about the <resource> tag on the W3C site, 
there's some powerful possibilities.

The purpose isn't to provide permanent names of resources, but to
simplify maintenance of HTML documents in a way that minimizes broken
links and can allow user agents to choose documents based on desired
criteria (type, version/date, site, etc.).

It allows names to be used across a set of related documents
(sections from a book, an institution's web pages).  It is not
intended to provide permanent and unique global names across the

URNs require an infrastructure of servers and a registration
authority (or authorities) not yet in place, whereas the ideas I am
proposing can be implemented in user-agents.

URNs are also not applicable to every resource. (How many personal web 
pages will be given URNs, for instance?)

Comparing link aliases with URNs is like comparing Java with CGI.