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Re: TB16 Re: Comments on arch doc draft

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Tue, 02 Jul 2002 10:05:04 -0700
Message-ID: <3D21DD40.4080606@textuality.com>
To: www-tag@w3.org

Michael Mealling wrote:

>>That's a realy terrible example.  Those office URNs are a disaster, and 
>>I suspect that Microsoft did this partly to avoid documenting their 
>>kludgy proprietary file formats.   The world would be an immensely 
>>better place if those were real URLs with real documentation at the end 
>>of them.
> 
> But it would also be one that would simply quit working when the
> network connection went down. As someone else suggested: you're
> assuming web applications and XML and URIs get used in awfully
> unconnected places. 

1. Few systems, with the exception of some of the SemWeb stuff, depend 
on dereferencing namespace names to perform their basic functions.  The 
reason they should be dereferencable is to support retrieval of 
tutorial, reference, and bootstrapping resources for humans or agents 
who discover previously unknown namespaces.
2. I think it's a good idea to place information online and make it part 
of the Web's information space.  The fact that the Web is not perfect 
and resources may sometimes not be available does not change this.

> Yes. The IETF has made very specific decisions not to turn the IANA's
> web resources into a directly downloadable schema repository. That's
> why we created the 'ietf' URN namespace and are putting permanent
> references to IANA registry entries there instead of making 'iana.org'
> follow the w3.org example. We _don't_ want things failing becuase
> the IANA decided to re-arrange its website. That's called a single
> point of failure and its _not_ what the Internet is supposed to have.

IETF is within its rights, but I'm unconvinced.  If you have an 
organizational commitment to maintain your address space, using 
old-fashioned URLs won't get in the way.  (Hint: you can insert as many 
layers of indirection as you please in the dereferencing of 
http://example.com/reference/1312413)  If you lack the desire or 
competence to maintain your address space, no number of new URI schemes 
will help.

>>At the moment, my belief is that someone 
>>who wants to use a namespace, but doesn't want to let people find out 
>>about it using the Web, is either nefarious or incompetent.   That's the 
>>motivation for the SHOULD. -Tim
> 
> Thanks. I'll tell the MPEG and ISBN associations that you think they're 
> nefarious or incomptent....

I stand by my concerns in regards anybody who has high-value reference 
information which would increase the usability of their offering and 
declines to make it part of webspace.  It's probably better just to say 
that I feel this behavior is "wrong" and not speculate as to motives.

One of your points has merit; since dereference is only meaningful in 
the web context, it's obviously not a goal for namespace names that are 
not going to be used in Web applications.  I think that since the 
document being discussed has "Web" in its title, I think that piece of 
context is implicit. -Tim
Received on Tuesday, 2 July 2002 13:05:14 GMT

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