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Re: Historical - Re: Proposed IETF/W3C task force: "Resource meaning" Review of new HTTPbis text for 303 See Other

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Tue, 4 Aug 2009 06:24:44 -0400
Cc: Karl Dubost <karl+w3c@la-grange.net>, Pat Hayes <phayes@ihmc.us>, "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, W3C TAG <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-Id: <07E94B69-BAD6-4256-8905-FC942D3AF7DA@w3.org>
To: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>

On 2009-08 -04, at 00:57, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:

> On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 9:50 PM, Karl Dubost<karl+w3c@la-grange.net>  
> wrote:
>>
>> Le 2 août 2009 à 15:48, Tim Berners-Lee a écrit :
>>>
>>> On 2009-08 -02, at 07:04, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
>>>>
>>>> If you were to go in that direction, I think you ought to consider
>>>> adding "Service" as a third category. Thing at the top, with the
>>>> children document and service disjoint (not a complete partition,
>>>> obviously).
>>
>> […]
>>>
>>> Yes, I agree adding Service would help relieve some confusion. I
>>> deliberately avoided it in the short history. There is a use in  
>>> some ways
>>> for an ontology which ignores POST services completely, as many  
>>> systems are
>>> just buil;t by making webs.
>>
>>
>> This gives me the feeling of  the tree hidding the forest. HTTP  
>> gives a very
>> simple set of words (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE, …) to deal with an  
>> information
>> space. These words are being abused in many ways. (Julia Kristeva,  
>> poetic
>> language and intertextuality?)
>>
>> Basically we are adding a layer of meaning by fragmenting a generic  
>> meaning:
>> From "Resource" to "Document, Thing and Service". It seems like  
>> going from
>> abstract to more defined material things. This might help  
>> momentarily but
>> will just push the limit to the next iteration of "abuse", the next  
>> layer of
>> fragmentation.
>

This isn't fragmentation. I am only talking about "Resource", not  
about other terms,
and the problem is simply that it has been used differently in  
different specs and sometimes
ambiguously.

> We call this "categorization". It doesn't fragment, it organizes. With
> the organization come benefits: predictability, auditability,
> understandability. Whereas we have at the beginning "anything is
> possible in all cases" (which we know isn't really true - we recognize
> brokenness on the web all the time) with this sort of categorization
> we can start to articulate why some things work as expected and other
> things don't.
>

Yes.

> The web verbs you mention each made sense for particular sorts of
> things when they were first thought of. As the web has evolved, the
> scope of things to which they can (according to specification) applied
> has grown, and with this growth there have become too many cases where
> they don't make sense. If a HTTP URI can denote a person, then what is
> the verb DELETE supposed to do?

Yes.

> There are a number of possible paths, as I see it:
>
> - Let the verbs be used however anyone wants to and have them lose
> any distinct meaning. As an example of the sort of direction this
> leads us in is one of the ways AWWSW tried to make sense of
> Information Resource, by calling it a "200 responder".  Circular, and
> not very informative.
> - Restrict the scope of things HTTP URIs can refer to, paring the
> possibilities to those sorts of things conceived of when HTTP was
> first created.  I get the sense that some in this forum would have it
> that way, but the direction the Semantic Web is going says otherwise.
> - Start introducing some distinctions into the specifications and
> therefore letting there be room again for the verbs to retain some
> meaning, albeit by perhaps saying that some of them can't be said
> about various sort of things, and that they may mean different things
> when applied to different sorts of things.
>

The latter is what I propose, and really the way we went with HTTP- 
Range14
and 303.  The TAG did it by talking about "Information Resource" as a  
subclass
of "Resource", but I'm just thinking "document" (and service) as a  
subclass of "thing"
will make better matches with the existing cognitive associations for  
typical engineers.

Tim



> -Alan
>
>> Karl Dubost
Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 10:25:37 GMT

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