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

From: Xiaoshu Wang <xiao@renci.org>
Date: Mon, 20 Jul 2009 15:16:15 -0400
Message-ID: <4A64C27F.1060107@renci.org>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>
CC: Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>, W3C TAG <www-tag@w3.org>
Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> On Jul 19, 2009, at 7:28 AM, Larry Masinter wrote:
>> I'd like to ask that we start a separate task force and
>> mailing list on the topic of resolving any remaining issues
>> around the use of the word "resource" and the semantics
>> associated with it, with the task force chartered to come up with
>> satisfactory wording to propose as amendments, errata,
>> or updates to relevant documents. The initial
>> documents to be considered are:
>> (a) the URI specification RFC 3986
>> (b) the HTTP specification being developed in HTTPbis
>>  and (1) its definitions of "resource"
>>      (2) its definition of HTTP URI scheme
>> (c) the W3C TAG document AWWW
>> (d) the W3C TAG httpRange-14 finding
>> (e) the W3C RDF recommendation
>> Other documents and uses of the word "resource" may
>> be added to the scope once the task force has agreement
>> on this issues.
> For the record, I do not believe there is anything wrong with the way
> resource is defined in RFC 3986.  I have no interest in discussing
> it further because all of these arguments have already been covered
> three times over.
> The fact that some people insist that their personal/professional
> ontology doesn't have room for any of the other definitions found
> in a common dictionary is not, in my opinion, a protocol issue.
> The term is defined in one place (3986) for the sake of documentation
> and consistency, not for the sake of perfection in the minds of
> every observer.  As far as the protocols are concerned, the fact
> that it is a defined term is all that matters: it's definition
> does not matter outside the philosophical realm.
I agree with that -- how the word "resource" is defined in 3986 and 
2616bis is O.K. as far as the protocol is concerned.  But the issue is: 
whether AWWW and httpRange-14 has stretched that definition.  For 
instance, the entire argument of AWWW/httpRange-14 is based on the 
ambiguous concept of "ambiguity".  That is: one URI can only be used to 
denote one thing.  But what is the "one" is no where to be defined.  If 
a URI is used to denote both a person and a web page, it is *one* thing 
that is both a person and a web page, unless there is an ontology 
explicitly claim that Person disjoint with WebPage. 

But what is relevant to  RFC3986/2616bis would be this.  Given a URI as 
defined in RFC3986, would the resource that the URI denotes and the 
representation (which 2616bis deals) are the same thing?  Should this 
ontological question be answered?  If so, where?  AWWW?  If so, which 
spec takes precedence?

There are two options:

One: RFC3986/RFC2616bis takes precedence and AWWW is built on top of 
them.  In this case, anyone can built their own version of AWWW as long 
as they comply with RFC3986/RFC2616.

Two, AWWW should prescribe over RFC3986/RFC2616bis.  If this is the 
case, then we might need to think about RFC3986/RFC2616bis while 
straightening out AWWW/httpRange-14. 

I think here is what Larry's suggestion makes sense.  I do not think he 
is suggesting that RFC3986 must be changed except the fact there needs 
to be a cohesive story among these specs.

Received on Monday, 20 July 2009 19:17:02 UTC

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