W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > January 2009

Re: Introduction to URIs (was RE: WebArch introduction, sort of)

From: Xiaoshu Wang <wangxiao@musc.edu>
Date: Wed, 28 Jan 2009 11:10:22 +0000
Message-ID: <49803D1E.8000704@musc.edu>
To: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>
CC: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>, "Booth, David (HP Software - Boston)" <dbooth@hp.com>, "Henry S. Thompson" <ht@inf.ed.ac.uk>, "www-tag@w3.org" <www-tag@w3.org>



Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
> On Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 6:56 PM, Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org> wrote:
>   
>> I might ask "what is correct?" and "what is a non-information resource"?
>>
>> My point wasn't to debate the merits of one definition or another,
>> it was exactly to point out that the question rests entirely on
>> terms that have no good definition by themselves, and that you might
>> as well resolve them by definition rather than continuing to debate
>> them.
>>     
>
> Certainly one should resolve questions about them wrt to a definition,
> if possible. So when you answered "No, by definition", that seemed
> correct. Even if one can't tell an information resource from not an
> information resource (Impossible with the current definitions) if you
> are sure your resource isn't one, then you can't return 200.
>
> But then you through me off with
>
> Define "information resource" as a resource in which it is reasonable
> to expect to be able to retrieve a representation
>
> This isn't operational because we don't have a way to evaluate
> reasonableness in the abstract.
>
> If you said, instead, that an information resource one one for which
> you *have* received a representation, you would have something that is
> operational.
>   
This kind of debate is never going to end. It is interesting that in 
AWWW, it says: "We define the term “information resource” because we 
observe that it is useful in discussions of Web technology and may be 
useful in constructing specifications for facilities built for use on 
the Web."

 From my limited knowledge, I am not aware of any practical web 
application that is built upon the concept. Neither do I know that any 
web application breaks because of it. The word "information resource" 
has only raised confusions but not fruitions in any regards. If after 
seven plus years no one has figured it out, something must be very wrong 
about it.

For instance, my manuscript "Exploring HTTP content negotiation" to 
WWW09 was turned down for some reason that leaves me speechless (such as 
asking me to cite my own statement). One of the reviewer, for example, 
said that "Although the idea....this is IMO violating the 
resource/representation concept of the WWW", which is the whole point of 
my argument.

So, let's ask: what is the architecture of the Web? Is it something 
objective, like the physical laws that there is no way we cannot 
disobey? or subjective, like a design principles that we try to cook up 
so we can do more thing about it? I think it ought to be the latter. If 
a solution that solves some problems but was shoot down for the reason 
of violating "the web architecture", then this web architecture starts 
becoming a religion, which working relies on our faith but intelligence.

The definition of "information resource" is dangerously leaning toward 
the latter.

Xiaoshu


> But I don't think its the way to go. I think Tim has something in mind
> when he says information resource and that job #1 is to craft a
> definition that accurately, and in a manner that it can be conveyed to
> others, captures the sense of it. Job #2 is to see whether there is
> consensus that the captured sense is something with which it is wise
> to build network protocols.
>
> -Alan
>
>
>
>   
>> If it isn't clear, I'm in favor of taking an operational approach.
>>
>> Larry
>> --
>> http://larry.masinter.net
>>
>>
>> -----Original Message-----
>> From: Alan Ruttenberg [mailto:alanruttenberg@gmail.com]
>> Sent: Monday, January 26, 2009 5:47 PM
>> To: Larry Masinter
>> Cc: Booth, David (HP Software - Boston); Henry S. Thompson; www-tag@w3.org
>> Subject: Re: Introduction to URIs (was RE: WebArch introduction, sort of)
>>
>> On Mon, Jan 26, 2009 at 2:56 PM, Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org> wrote:
>>     
>>>        "There is real debate underway at the moment as to whether it is
>>>       
>> correct
>>     
>>>        for a web server to return a 200 OK response code in a response to
>>>       
>> a
>>     
>>>        request for a URI which identifies a non-information resource."
>>>
>>> Suggest "No, by definition":
>>> Define "information resource" as a resource in which it is reasonable
>>> to expect to be able to retrieve a representation.
>>>       
>> What is reasonable? What is a representation?
>>
>> -Alan
>>
>>     
>>> Then:
>>>
>>> * If it were correct to send 200 OK, then the resource would be an
>>>  "information resource" and thus not a "non-information resource".
>>> * Thus, by elimination, it is not correct to return 200 OK for
>>>  non-information resources.
>>>
>>>       
>>>> "Therefore, the use of a URI to directly denote both an information
>>>>       resource and a non-information resource should be viewed as a
>>>>         
>>> violation
>>>       
>>>>       of good practice, but *not* a violation of Web architecture."
>>>>         
>>> Use of a URI to directly denote anything is always a leap of faith.
>>>
>>> Larry
>>> --
>>> http://larry.masinter.net (I am not a number. I am also not my web page.)
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>
>>>       
>>     
>
>   
Received on Wednesday, 28 January 2009 11:11:13 GMT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0+W3C-0.50 : Thursday, 26 April 2012 12:48:11 GMT