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RE: I-D ACTION:draft-hendrikx-wallis-urn-nzl-00.txt

From: Didier PH Martin <martind@netfolder.com>
Date: Mon, 14 Feb 2005 16:27:54 -0500
To: "'Roy T. Fielding'" <fielding@gbiv.com>, 'W3C TAG' <www-tag@w3.org>
Cc: 'Michael Mealling' <michael@neonym.net>, colin.wallis@ssc.govt.nz, ferry.hendrikx@ssc.govt.nz
Message-id: <008701c512dc$0bb0ac00$c901a8c0@DIDIERHOME>

Hello Roy,

> Noah has reminded me (off-list) that there is at least one other
> example that has been successful, namely UUIDs/GUIDs.  There are
> definite advantages to completely automated, decentralized naming
> systems (e.g., DCE to COM to urn:uuid:) that have no equivalent
> in hierarchical URLs, although the urn: prefix does not provide
> any value in this case.
> 

Good. I agree that the urn prefix do not bring money to the table however,
the URN specification allows to use such namespace convention. For instance
to use the following URN: urn:uuid:1234-378476-2837-2837 (note the number is
not a real UUID and is there only as an example similar to a UUID). Idem for
isbn, idem for engineering drafting conventions, idem for social security
naming conventions, idem for librarian facetted classification etc... The
main benefit of a URN is to allow the porting of existing naming conventions
to the web without necessarily disturbing the web consistency. Both URLs and
URNs are URIs. The main difference is that URNs are more flexible. Could URN
be made more flexible, surely if they allow the usage of the "/" for a
namespace. One critic we can have against the actual specification is the
restriction on some characters and hence it limits the  range of possible
naming convention included in URN.

If more people are using URNs, I see that as a progress not as a regression.
It means that the web is becoming more versatile than it is today. Believe
me, the web as it is today is more primitive than systems were becoming to
be in the 80s but we gained on the "reach" factor to the detriment of the
"rich" factor. One had to regress in order for the order to improve. It's
probably time that we move beyond the "reach" to make it more "rich". Using
URNs is a step toward that "richness" if it can incorporate the "richness"
of naming conventions we find today in the real world. We will gain in
consistency. Anyway, we are still far far away from such consistency but we
made some baby step improvements and some steps backwards, I guess this is
what we call evolution. 

Cheers
Didier PH Martin
Received on Monday, 14 February 2005 21:45:31 GMT

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