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Review of webarch-20040816

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Wed, 01 Sep 2004 07:45:15 -0700
To: www-tag@w3.org, "w3. org" <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-id: <8934D700-FC25-11D8-B7E2-000A95A51C9E@textuality.com>
***** First, issues that I think are really material, i.e. that I would 
be inclined to raise a formal issue against webarch if they are not 


The sentence beginning "While other communications may suggest..." 
baffles me.  What other communications?  This needs an example, I have 
no idea what we're talking about.


1st Good practice.

Is this good practice really limited to "URI owners?"  Other plausible 
targets would be "Creators of URIs" or "resource owners".


It should be stated somewhere in here that "There is no way to tell 
whether any given URI identifies an information resource without 
attempting to dereference it."


1st para.  s/are involved/govern the process/.  This this the same 
issue I keep raising on successive drafts; webarch must not leave room 
for pedants to claim that governing specifications are involved at 

last para: This paragraph is totally indecipherable to me.  The first 
sentence is true, I guess, although I don't see what it adds to 
webarch.  The sentence about natural language, I don't get it, why is 
it in the same paragraph?  What's its goal? Maybe it should be in a 
different section, maybe it needs an example.  Maybe it's making some 
point with architectural import that I'm just not getting.  In need of 
major surgery, I'm not suggesting changes because I just don't get it.


#2 in list: It's not just POST right, it's PUT & DELETE & anything but 
GET?  Hmm, don't have 2616 handy.  In any case, please be clear & 
complete as to which verbs apply.


para beginning "A corollary to..."

No.  This isn't a corollary at all.  I'd suggest a rewrite of this 
little sequence:

Just because a representations are available does not mean that it's 
always desirable to retrieve them.  In fact, in some cases the opposite 
is true.  Dereferencing a URI has a (potentially significant) cost in 
computing and bandwidth resources, may have security implications, and 
may impose significant latency on the dereferencing application.  
Dereferencing URIs should be avoided except when necessary.

  Principle: Reference does not imply dereference

  An application developer or specification author SHOULD NOT
  require networked retrieval of representations as a consequence
  of recognizing or processing a URI.


The first paragraph here is weaker than in previous drafts, why?  The 
sentence about "In exceptional circumstances..." is BS, once a URI is 
out in the wild it's always OK to pass it along.  I think we have to 
recognize that the action of *publishing* a URI is actually crucial 
here, once published it's always OK to republish.  But if I email you a 
pointer to an unpublished page, that's not the same as publishing it.


1st good practice:
s/portions of representation data/secondary resources/


Sigh, has this section been punctured below the waterline by late revs 
to 2396bis?


1st para.  Last sentence is wrong.  The URI isn't the prefix.  I tried 
a couple of rewrites but couldn't come up with anything good... suggest 
losing it.

para beginning "s/of any type/of many types/"... it's not a condition 
of being a global attribute that it necessarily apply to *all* 
elements; I'm sure counter-examples could be dug up.


2nd-last para.  As long as drafts keep claiming that [XMLSchema] is an 
appropriate namespace document, I will keep objecting.  I think it is 
BAD PRACTICE to provide a syntactic schema (any kind, DTDs or RNG too) 
as a namespace document... a schema generally provides neither 
human-readable documentation nor does it enable software to do much of 
any usefulness, thus failing both the criteria defined in this section.


1st sentence.  Earth to webarch... Huh?  Data formats enable new 
classes of applications, and the claim that this is necessarily related 
to #fragid semantics is ridiculous.  In fact, the most common reason 
for defining a new data format is to enable new application classes.  
Examples of data formats that imply new application classes: HTML, SVG, 
RSS, etc etc etc.

*****Issues from here down are editorial.


s/Within each of these/In each of these/

2nd para, make sentence smoother:

These lead to design choices for and constraints on the behavior of 
systems that use the Web, aimed at achieving the desired properties of 
the shared information space:

**1. Introduction

2nd para.  Suggest losing "(on behalf of a person, entity, or 
process)"... terms are fuzzy (entity?), and it doesn't really add 

1st story.  lose ", as advertised", redundant & awkward

list of "three architectural bases"... #2.
Suggest swapping 1st & 2nd sentences.

"By clicking on a hypertext link..." well, Nadia didn't, except 
implicitly in step #3 of the story.  In fact, she typed in the URI.  
Which doesn't weaken the point.


2nd para.  s/This document strikes/This document strives for/... avoid 
being self-complimentary

**1.1.3 <dt>Constraint</dt>

s/certain properties/desired properties/
What are "non-functional properties"?  I don't think the division of 
desired properties into two baskets really helps.  Also, the list is 
too long and klunky, lose a couple.


1st para.  s/sharing a URI/sharing URIs/

last paragraph feels orphaned and a little lame.  Last sentence is 
worth saving.


3rd para.  The term "scheme" is used before being defined, and kind of 
abruptly too.  At least a hyperlink to its definition?

s/scheme specific URI/scheme-specific URIs/


2nd para.  Does the "urn" scheme actually establish a unique 
relationship between a social entity and a URI?  Let's assume urn:uuid: 
gets registered some day

awkward phrase: "... based on Internet media type, validity 
constraints, or other constraints."  Also, is the phrase "validity 
constraints" well-understood?  I might assume that it's referring 
specifically to the result of XML DTD processing?  Maybe just "... 
based on Internet media type, user authorization, or other 


Wouldn't <cite>The Sting</cite> be better than "The Sting"?

/me weeps for the lost white whale... dammit, I'll charter a ship out 
of Nantucket and hunt that sucker down in the graveyard of lost 
specifications, I just need a Tahitian harpooner.


This section suffers from severe internal confusion as to how the word 
URI is pluralized.... someone needs to take an end-to-end walk through 
the doc looking at each occurrence of "URI" to see whether it should be 


The story makes Dirk look like a doofus.  How about an innocent mistake 
instead of a dumb question: "Dirk is editing a Web page, and Nadia 
notices that he has inserted a link to ...08/03/Oaxaca labeled 'Current 
Oaxaca weather forecast'.  Nadia spots a cut-and-paste error and 
explains that the resource Dirk has identified is the weather forecast 
for 'Weather on August 3, 2004', and that he should either change the 
label or change the URI to '.../oaxaca'"


Para beginning "While Web architecture..." s/significant amount/large 


In the discussion of URI stability, it should be noted that if a 
resource is an information resource, it should stay an information 


<ol> after "Precisely which representations...", #4: suggest rewording 
to say "The world changes over time, and so representations of 
resources are like to change."


Para beginning "As with any URI", s/licensed by specification/licensed 
by any specification/.


s/restrictions on, or structure within,/rules for use of/


para beginning "In all cases the accuracy"

s/In all cases the accuracy/The accuracy/


1st story s/(and he trusts them more than he trusts the Web site in 
question//, hardly necessary.

1st Good practice s/the identified resource/the resource it identifies/


1st para, 2nd sentence, suggest rewrite: "For an Information Resource, 
persistence depends on the consistency of representations."


1st para: instead "exchanging" how about "passing on" or "republishing"

para beginning "For resources that are..." s/applicability/reusability/


Bah.  Content-free.  Unhelpful.


Suggest rewrite 1st sentence: Data formats (examples include XHTML, 
RDF/XML, SMIL, XLink, CSS, and PNG) [er is XLink a "data format"?] are 
agreements on the correct interpretation of representation data.

2nd para s/data sender/sender of data/
s/data receiver/the party that receives it/.


3rd para. suggest rewrite 1st sentence: If a data format is textual, as 
defined in this section, this does not imply that it should be served 
with a media type beginning with "text/".


2nd para after story s/For almost all applications/In general/


1st <li> in <ul>
s/they have little or no effect/they are not intended to affect/
... hmm, is this really true?  Ask Norm, he understands JFIF

2nd <li> s/to be composed/content/

3rd <li> s/vocabularies is/vocabularies are/


1st para s/birth/success/


2nd <li> in <ol> s/ID assignment/ID recognition/.  "Assignment" really 
feels like the wrong word.


last sentence.  The "advances into territory" metaphor is perhaps a 
little martial... does it leave the tents of the other specification 
burning and its women weeping?  Perhaps "overlaps" would do?


1st sentence: s/can be well-specified/can be well-characterized/

Received on Wednesday, 1 September 2004 18:12:55 UTC

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