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Re: Proposed TAG issue on the boundaries of the Web

From: Keith Moore <moore@cs.utk.edu>
Date: Thu, 11 Apr 2002 22:13:44 -0400
Message-Id: <200204120213.g3C2Djl01112@astro.cs.utk.edu>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@apache.org>
cc: Keith Moore <moore@cs.utk.edu>, "Noah Mendelsohn/Cambridge/IBM" <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>, www-tag@w3.org
> > There are two ways one can think of an architecture.
> >
> > The first way is to provide a common framework that allows a wide
> > variety of pieces to work together,while largely preserving the
> > ability of those pieces to provide their individual functions and
> > to evolve independently of one another.
> >
> > The second way is to try to limit functionality of each piece,
> > coercing everything into a uniform model.
> 
> That is incorrect.  A common framework is obtained by applying constraints
> (making interfaces common).  The second is the cause and, if done right, 
> the first is the effect.  That is the nature of architectural design.

I agree with you that this is the way that architcture functions best.

> > The first way encourages evolution; the second inhibits it.
> > The first way imposes substantial barriers to entry;
> > the second imposes minimal barriers.
> > The first way requires central control over many aspects of the
> > architecture; the second requires only a minimal framework and
> > an extensibility model.
> 
> No, what you are saying is that some people try to over-constrain an
> architecture for a particular problem.  That just means there are some
> designs that are better than others.  It does not mean that you get
> good characteristics by obviating the task of architectural design.

Indeed, that's part of what I was saying - but I was also making a
statement about how architects can sometimes get confused between
the goal (making a more flexible system) and the mechanism (imposing 
constraints to force uniformity).  I agree that too few constraints 
can also cause problems.

> The Web is a system that resides on and around the Internet.  It has
> certain behavior and properties that are enabled by the Web's architectural
> design.  We use that design to determine what changes can be made to
> the Web without destroying the other properties that we hold to be 
> important.

I'm reminded of various quotes from _Through the Looking Glass_.

If it's really important for you to try to define or constrain what is meant 
by "The Web", feel free.  But -no offense intended- my guess is that neither 
users nor implementors will pay much attention.  I suspect that more public
benefit may be gained from describing how to maximize functionality from the 
use of URIs and other tools of the web, and deliberately keeping the boundary 
fuzzy, than by trying to precisely define the boundary.  

But hey, you guys are going to do what you think best.  
I wish you every success.

Keith
Received on Thursday, 11 April 2002 22:13:50 GMT

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