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Re: larry's position on URIs as names

From: Jonathan Rees <jar@creativecommons.org>
Date: Wed, 26 May 2010 20:18:38 -0400
Message-ID: <AANLkTimgJCsOnhqRFtIFRW_M6SoyL68bJtKHYtoOQHOH@mail.gmail.com>
To: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Cc: www-tag@w3.org
On Tue, May 18, 2010 at 10:59 AM, Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org> wrote:
> Does that help?

Not really, but it leads me to want to ask the question in a different way.

Suppose a friend of yours is designing a new protocol, and a protocol
element is needed to designate metadata subjects (e.g. things that
have titles, authors, etc.). Suppose that the documentation and use of
the protocol leads everyone involved to be clear, to the extent
necessary for what is communicated in the protocol (the "context"),
what these subjects are, i.e. what an instance of the protocol element
is supposed to name. That is, we set up the problem so that ambiguity
and "meaning" are not issues.

Also I'd like to remove durability as an issue for the moment. We can
get back to it after we deal with the other issues.

Your friend is about to choose http: URIs for that protocol element.
You care about this person and want them to succeed. Your reaction is:

1. No, don't do that!  http: URIs are only for the HTTP protocol, not
for your new protocol. Use a more suitable URI scheme, or don't use
URIs at all.

2. Fine, do it, but only if what a URI names according to the new
protocol is the same as what the URI names according to the HTTP
protocol.

3. Fine, do it, just make sure that what you GET (POST, etc.) at that
URI via the HTTP protocol is related somehow to what the URI names
according to the new protocol.

4. Fine, do it, they're different protocols so there is no reason to
think the two uses either reinforce or interfere with one another
(like the function and variable namespaces in Common Lisp).

By "what a URI names according to the HTTP protocol" I mean what it
names (a file, script, query, service, etc.) according to whoever set
up the server - but I think it doesn't matter what theory you have of
http: naming, the choices above are still meaningful - so you fill in
the blank. If you think http: URIs don't name at all, or that the idea
is silly, fine, just rule out option 2.

If your answer is #1 I'd ask what advice between 2-3-4 you give if
this friend (who maybe is no longer a friend) insists on using http:
URIs.

This is an old debate, and one particular answer is baked into specs
that are used with great satisfaction; but it is true that there is no
general consensus.

Thanks
Jonathan
Received on Thursday, 27 May 2010 00:19:11 GMT

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