W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > February 2003

Re: Valid representations, canonical representations, and what the SW needs from the Web...

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@apache.org>
Date: Sun, 2 Feb 2003 01:10:11 -0800
Cc: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
To: Walden Mathews <waldenm@optonline.net>
Message-Id: <21DD59DB-368E-11D7-AD42-000393753936@apache.org>

>>>   What thing
>>>     is, as far as you can tell, identified by
>>>        http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec10.html
>> My guess is an HTML rendition of RFC 2616, section 10, as one page
>> within the context of a specification tree.  But that's just a guess
>> based on what I know from Dan's intentions and my trust that the
>> translation from plain text was sufficiently accurate.
> Pardon the intrusion.  I'm wondering what this guessing game
> is about.  Unless Roy is the naming authority, what significance
> can attach to what he thinks the above URI identifies?

Just that.  Most linking is a guess, assisted by context and
occasionally even by knowing the naming authority.  When the guess
is right, the link tends to work as planned.  When the guess is
wrong, a failure will eventually occur.  The interesting thing
(to me, at least) is that even a wrong guess can be changed to
a right one if the naming authority changes its mind based upon
the reasons why everyone else is linking to the URI.

Is that bad?  What if 60% link to it for the wrong reason and 40%
link to it for the right reason, and fixing it for one breaks the
other?  The Web is not a system of logic, even though the components
operating on the Web are logical.

> My other question has to do with the "HTML rendition" part
> of the reply.  If URIs can identify anything, not just documents,
> why wouldn't you guess that the above URI identifies section 10
> of RFC 2616 directly, instead of an HTML rendition of same?

Because URIs are not opaque to humans.

Received on Sunday, 2 February 2003 06:11:17 UTC

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