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Re: reference needed - w3.org versioned documents

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Thu, 3 Apr 2008 13:02:07 -0400
Message-Id: <EA3C7B09-AF54-4B09-A6E3-D66229DF6ADB@creativecommons.org>
Cc: Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, "Williams, Stuart (HP Labs, Bristol)" <skw@hp.com>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>
To: noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com


On Apr 3, 2008, at 10:40 AM, noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com wrote:

> Let's accept what you say above as true.  In that case do you believe
> there is there significant value in sticking to the TAG's position on
> httpRange14?  You're making the case that even with the existing
> restriction that status code 200 is only for "information  
> resources", a
> typical Semantic Web application will still pretty much be  
> depending for
> success on the URI owner publishing further information about the
> resource.  If that's the case, then why the fuss about 200? ...

At the risk of drawing out the httpRange-14 debate, which so far I  
have tried to avoid...

I agree with most of what you say, and your question is a perfectly  
fine one. My answer is that IMO there is value in httpRange-14, even  
if there isn't significant practical value.

I think that if we had some accepted way to provide metadata for 200- 
responders then the need for httpRange-14 would be reduced, since  
there would be another way to say what httpRange-14 wants a 200  
status code to mean. Such an alternative would be superior since  
unlike 200 it would not be overloading a message that people are  
already using in some cases to mean something different.

httpRange-14 is useful in that if a 200 comes from a server that  
adheres to it, AND you know that the server adheres to it, then you  
learn that the thing is an IR, and therefore not a hen's egg or  
doorjamb or protein function. The preconditions are a tall order, and  
the result not terribly informative, and probably not useful to a  
computational agent. But it's better than nothing, and might give  
guidance to a human trying to understand the URI.

The utility of httpRange-14 is significantly reduced as long as not  
all minters of URIs for non-IRs adhere to it. I have no idea what the  
penetration of httpRange-14 is, but my guess is that it is and will  
remain low.

The big win of httpRange-14, as I see it, is that it is a positive  
affirmation of what was probably the intent of RFC2616, that a 200  
response reflects some inherent connection (maybe even identity,  
sometimes) between the information received and the referent of the  
name (whatever it is, even if its identity is a secret), and not just  
something that a third party has said about the referent. (The  
correct thing to say here may be different, but that's OK, any kind  
of positive statement is fine by me.) Even if it has no practical  
effect, I think it's a bit of pedantry that provokes thought and  
helps to influence people to be honest.

My two cents.
Jonathan
Received on Thursday, 3 April 2008 17:03:30 GMT

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