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Re: Grinding to a halt on Issue 27.

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: 28 Apr 2003 22:41:58 -0500
To: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Cc: WWW-Tag <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1051587718.6595.11.camel@dirk.dm93.org>

On Mon, 2003-04-28 at 17:16, Tim Bray wrote:
> We spent essentially our whole meeting today on our issue 27:
> 
>   http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/ilist#IRIEverywhere-27
>   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2002Oct/0186
> 
> I had proposed that we close the issue as follows:
> 
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/www-tag/2003Apr/0090.html
> 
> Misha Wolf and Stuart Williams had followed up with useful commentary at 
> the detail level.
> 
> Today, we were unable to come close to consensus in favor of saying 
> "Yes, use IRIs."  The purpose of this note is to try to enumerate the 
> problems causing the blockage.
> 
> 1. Roy Fielding is concerned about the fact that the IRI spec isn't 
> finished, saying "it would be ridiculous to say we support IRIs" when it 
> isn't clear yet what they are.
> 
> 2. Dan Connolly and Tim Berners-Lee both are nervous about separating 
> issue 27 from our Issue 15, about when URIs compare equal.  Adding fuel 
> to the fire is the latest draft of the namespaces 1.1 spec:
> 
>   http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/CR-xml-names11-20021218/
> 
> Which in section 9 says namespaces can be IRIs, and in section 3 
> requires that all comparison of names be done based on exact string 
> equality.
> 
> Dan (apparently) thinks this is correct and appropriate.

Yes, I think string equality is the necessary and sufficient
algorithm for comparing identifiers; it remains only to
decide what string to do the comparison on, and I think the
18Dec namespaces spec take a clear, defensible position;
and I observe lots of software that's consistent with that position.

I think it would be counter-productive to come to some
resolution ala "yes, IRIs are gonna be great; use
them in your specs" without actually being clear about
what we're endorsing.

I can imagine other designs that would be equally clear;
I've seen maybe one or two sketched, but I can't really
get my head around why we wouldn't go with what's in
section 2 of
http://www.w3.org/TR/2002/CR-xml-names11-20021218/

and as to the pointers into the future in section 9,
they seem to apply to data only, not to software; i.e.
it seems to me that you can build software today that
will work, and will continue to work regardless of how
IRIs end up being specified. (well, to be more precise:
I think this puts requirements on the design of IRIs
that I think should and will be respected).


>   TimBL on the 
> other hand thinks that this will cause breakage, as future 
> URI-comparison software will probably do things like regard %7e and %7E 
> as the same, and thus will produce inconsistent results.
> 
> I share concerns about the wording in the namespaces draft, BTW.  Roy 
> suggested that it should be reworded to say that no canonicalization is 
> required before namespace comparison rather than say that ~wilbur, 
> %7ewilbur, and %7Ewilbur "are different", because in fact per the RFCs 
> they're not different.  But this wouldn't stop me saying that it's OK to 
> start writing in support for internationalized identifiers.
> 
> In any case, at the moment, we're paralyzed on this issue because of 
> these unresolved differences.  This is on the face of it at one level 
> ridiculous, because the first W in WWW stands for "World" and it's a 
> no-brainer that identifiers ought to include non-ASCII characters.
> 
> I think we do generally agree that the IRI work is in a good and useful 
> direction, and that one thing that would be totally useful would be to 
> get behind the work on the IRI draft:
> 
>    http://www.w3.org/International/iri-edit/
> 
> And get that nailed down and blessed.
-- 
Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Monday, 28 April 2003 23:41:38 GMT

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