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

Re: The lost meaning of the HTTP protocol in URIs

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Sun, 14 Sep 2003 16:15:36 -0400
Message-Id: <200309142015.h8EKFaHl006783@roke.hawke.org>
To: Stefano Mazzocchi <stefano@apache.org>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org, public-sw-meaning@w3.org

> My humble proposal is to come up with a best practice that, basically, 
> stops using HTTP for URI that are not meant to be dereferenced. TimBL's 
> Car, for example. I proposed the simple "uri:" scheme, but I'm happy 
> with anything, rdf: res: abs: or even urn:

I went through the same thought process (and some of the same
emotions) when I first encountered RDF.  So I proposed a URI scheme
like you suggest, one which is defined to have no dereference
mechanism, and merely serves to help people share the space of
possible names [1].  It's been hard to justify to the IESG, though, so
it is not yet published as an RFC.   I originally called it "tann",
then with my co-author, "tag", ... and we're vaguely in the market for
a new name, since this Technical Architecture Group came along.  :-)

Anyway, I stopped pushing very hard, because I found an answer to your

> Now, since this is obviously too simple for me being the first one to 
> propose this, what am I missing?

What you're missing is that derefencing is very useful.  URIs should
work in browsers, and network-aware RDF-based systems should be able
to use derefencing to do their jobs better.  For instance, some of the
more advanced RDF validators (eg [2]) follow the links and look for
logical inconsistencies or other signs of errors in your document IN
THE CONTEXT OF THE WEB, as found through the URIs used in your document.

I'm also hopeful that someday pasting a URI found in RDF into a
browser will give you readable documentation, but that hasn't
materialized very well yet.  

This is not covered in the current RDF specifications.  There is still
a lot of work to be done.  The TAG recently recognized this as an
issue [3], and with the help of the Semantic Web Coordination Group is
starting up a group to try to move this along. [4]

Speaking, of which, lets take this discussion there, if there is any
more of it.    CC'd and Reply-To'd.

    -- sandro

[1] http://www.w3.org/2001/02/tann/
[2] http://www.daml.org/validator/
[3] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/ilist#rdfURIMeaning-39
[4] http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-sw-meaning/2003Sep/
Received on Sunday, 14 September 2003 16:15:59 UTC

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