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RE: URL Expansion proposal

From: Israel del Rio <idelrio@abstraction.com>
Date: Mon, 15 Jan 1996 00:14:13 -0700
Message-Id: <199601150714.AAA26654@teal.csn.net>
To: Jonathon Tidswell <t-jont@microsoft.com>
Cc: www-talk@w3.org
Jonathon,

I agree that applying wisdom-after-the-fact a more friendly way for URL
schemes could have been designed. Still URLs have been a great solution to the 
addressing problems due to the heterogeneity of Net services. Obviously nobody 
really predicted that the Internet would explode out of the scope of academia 
and go into what quickly is turning into a global electronic consumer 
marketplace (at least that's what I hope). I realize that applying alternative
schemes or eventually applying the more flexible X.500 standards could
take care of the problem. I would rather see a more comprehensive
review of the entire addressing issue comparing DNS vs X.500 than to
force the use of another name resolution server to map aliases to URL.

My suggestion was simply intended as an easy to develop stop-gap for what
I consider will be the most used aspect to the net from a mass public
perspective. Once again, I am not recommending an alternative addressing
scheme but an automated aliasing scheme which is deliverately limited in
scope (okay, actually I am proposing an intelligent wildcard expansion approach,
but the purpose is the same). An alias does not replace an address; it simply 
augments it. The aliases used in UNIX, for example, do not change the Unix file 
system. If eventually the standard way to access the Internet will be via the 
Web (an statistics already point to that trend), we do not need to immediately
use simplified URL expansion for people accessing, say FTP, Gopher, or
News directly. The question I was trying to address was:
How can we make it easier for *most* people and companies to identify
themselves in the net without using infrastructure-dependent addressing schemes 
and with a minimum effort and cost?

regards,

Israel

On Sun, 14 Jan 1996, Jonathon Tidswell <t-jont@microsoft.com> wrote:
>
>Israel,
>You are correct URLs are ugly and not particularly novice friendly(1).
>Which leads quite quickly to the conclusion that an improvement is needed.
>I dont think anybody would disagree so far.
>
>However your suggestion is applicable to a very narrow part of the web 
>(indeed HTTP is only part of the 'Web'), it appears to be the common 
>response that your goals are good but that implementing two standards (yours 
>and a more widely applicable one at a later date) for dealing with the 
>naming problems is worse than dealing with the (admittedly poor) current URL 
>scheme until a broadly applicable solution can be found.
>
>I think the best (short term) solution mentioned so far has been to provide 
>a UI feature which is basically a link to a search engine/index.
>You may wish to experiment with alternative implementations(2) and can then 
>enlighten everybody with the results of your work, so that everybody will 
>use a *standard* method to avoid confusing novices.
>
>- JonT
>
>(1) It is acutally worse than that, they can be counter intuitive for some 
>things.
>(2) Obvious possibilities include:
>   -   a separate text entry box with a second button
>   -   a more clever parser that send the text to the search engine if it is 
>clearly not a
>       misformed URL and cant be made to look like a URL by simple tricks
>
>Disclaimer: I think my thoughts are my own, and I believe my writings are 
>too.
>I neither can nor do speak for Microsoft. 
>

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Received on Monday, 15 January 1996 02:14:19 GMT

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