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RE: [Fwd: RE: "information resource"]

From: <Patrick.Stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Oct 2004 13:15:49 +0300
Message-ID: <1E4A0AC134884349A21955574A90A7A50ADD55@trebe051.ntc.nokia.com>
To: <dehora@eircom.net>, <www-tag@w3.org>


> Can someone clarify what is lost when the concept of information 
> resource is taken away? Or what is gained when it is present?

I can at least state my view, which may coincide with the views
of others (or not).

The importance of the concept of "information resource" is central 
to the issue httpRange-14, such that, if the range of http: URIs
is defined to be a class of information resources, well, then 
you should obviously define what that class is. Fair enough.

But if the range of http: URIs is taken to be unconstrained, then
any particular class of resources is irrelevant to the fundamental
machinery of the web -- which is agnostically concerned simply with
the accessibility of representations of any kind of resource via 
its identifying URI.

Particular classes of resources, such as information resources, 
will be relevant, even central, to particular applications of
the web machinery, but that does not make such classes essential
components of the web machinery itself.

I would argue that even the significance of a class of information
resources to the hypertext web is debatable. Present, typical user
perceptions and expectations -- limited pretty much to just wanting
consistent behavior when traversing links -- does not depend on
URIs identifying information resources. Typical users don't care
one way or another what a given URI actually identifies, only that
its resolution behaves in a consistent manner. Those URIs could
identify any kind of resource, including non-information resources,
and if resolution of the URIs exhibit consistent, reliable behavior,
then users will be happy. And in fact, that is the case for many
appliations which already use URIs to denote non-information
resources.

IMO, the definition of information resource could be entirely
omitted from AWWW without any notable losss of utility, clarity,
or coherence. Go ahead, try it. Delete it from the latest draft
and change all instances of "information resource" to "resource"
and see what impact that has. It's an enlightening experiment ;-)

Now, those who wish to constrain the range of http: URIs to 
such a class of resources will certainly object to any such
deletion, but that too, is enlightening, as it illustrates how
closely tied that definition is to issue httpRange-14, as those
who will most strongly object are (I predict) strong proponents 
of the more restrictive side of that debate.

Cheers,

Patrick
Received on Thursday, 21 October 2004 10:23:26 UTC

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