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Re: Defining the Web

From: Jeff Bone <jbone@jump.net>
Date: Tue, 26 Mar 2002 13:46:11 -0600
Message-ID: <3CA0D002.F8A0802C@jump.net>
To: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com
CC: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>, www-tag@w3.org

noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com wrote:

> Mark Nottingham quotes (Tim Bray quoting) Mark Baker proposing:
>
> >>  The World Wide Web ("Web") is a networked information space which
> >>  encompasses all things with identity ("resources").  Resources are
> >>  made accessible, and potentially manipulable, via a generic interface
> >>  whose application semantics are applicable to all resources.
>
> Mark Nottingham then asks:
>
> >  is the TAG comfortable saying that there
> > a mapping of REST to every conceivable protocol
> > that can be used to access a resource
>
> I'm certainly not comfortable with this statement.  I think you can have
> either universality, or a pre-constrained interface, but not both.  We
> can't even know the sorts of resources that a universal web will have to
> support over the years.  How about:
>
> "The World Wide Web ("Web") is a networked information space which
> encompasses all things with identity ("resources").  The Web architecture
> attempts to maximize compatibility among the interfaces used to
> access and manipulate Web resources."

If I might toss in my $0.02:

While I understand and concur with the reluctance to (at this point) define
"the Web" as equivalent with REST in some sense, I think Mark N.'s definition
misses something that is captured by Mark B.'s and is essential.  IMO, it's
important to capture the idea of genericity of interfaces and semantics
across all resources --- at least across those in a given URI scheme, the Web
then being the set of all resources addressible under such schemes and
accessible via such protocols.  It's not an issue of interface
"compatibility," it's an issue of genericity across some (all) resources in a
given protocol.

A minor tweak to Baker's definition addresses Mark N.'s concern that we not
presuppose or imply a particular interface or protocol as definititive of
"the Web," i.e.:

"The World Wide Web ("Web") is a networked information space which
encompasses all things with identity ("resources").  Resources are made
accessible, and potentially manipulable, via generic interfaces whose
semantics are applicable to all resources in a given address scheme and
application protocol."

$0.02,

jb
Received on Tuesday, 26 March 2002 14:48:41 GMT

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