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RE: Issue 133, and permitting no body

From: John J. Barton <John_Barton@hpl.hp.com>
Date: Wed, 06 Feb 2002 10:31:31 -0800
Message-Id: <4.3.2.7.2.20020206091751.0213d368@hplex1.hpl.hp.com>
To: "Williams, Stuart" <skw@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Cc: mnot@mnot.net, xml-dist-app@w3.org, noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com, distobj@acm.org
At 02:21 PM 2/6/2002 +0000, Williams, Stuart wrote:
>Hi John,
>
> > Returning to Stuart's thread, this line of reasoning says: "don't worry
> > about the POST response, worry about how the client formed the message".
> > Semantic ignorance is bliss on the client side: the less it knows the
> > more we can accomplish.
>
>Sounds like the basis of a good lawyer joke :-)
>
>I guess this works if you think of a browser/UA as the client. If you think
>of the human being as the client then semantics ignorance on the part of the
>client might be problematic - he/she would have no idea what they have
>accomplised... or committed to.

Hi Stuart. Yea, some how I need to say "semantic-just-knowing-a-littleness"
but it doesn't fit with the bliss bit ;-)

There are four intelligent beings in the web forms case.  One is the end user;
they are thinking "gotta get brittney spears video".  One is the web site
designer; they are thinking "must meet sales quota".  Two other folks did
their work before brittney was hot or the site designer was hired.  They wrote
the browser and server.  The first two folks never shared bad coffee and
argued about the definition of "<is>".  Unfortunately the web services
path seems to leading us towards lots of bad coffee.

>If you then replace the human client with a program... it presumably needs
>to be endowed with some awareness of the signifcance of the resources it
>manipulates.

No program has awareness, but let's leave that argument for the next time I can
buy you a beer.  The question isn't one of intelligence.  Rather its is a
question closely related to "information hiding" in the technical sense.

Suppose I deploy a web service for photofinishing.  I want every digital camera
owner and every photo sharing service to use it.  Plan A is to get all the
camera developers and all the photo sharing services in to one room (yep, with
bad coffee) and pass out angle brackets. "Don't come out until you have a
schema".  These folks are certainly aware of the significance of the resources
their programs will manipulate.  And I might even succeed if my coffee budget
holds up.  But I can't help but dream about Plan B.

So my mind wanders back to that brittney spears video.  From an information
perspective, most of the POST operation semantics were given to the browser
by the server.  The server told the browser what the op code was (ACTION).
The server gave the browser a stack to return (input type=hidden).  So the
browser needed to act on a tiny set of widely applicable, generically typed
tags to communicate with the end-user.  How can we design web services
with a similar information properties?  I believe so, but we have to work
towards that goal.

John.


______________________________________________________
John J. Barton          email:  John_Barton@hpl.hp.com
http://www.hpl.hp.com/personal/John_Barton/index.htm
MS 1U-17  Hewlett-Packard Labs
1501 Page Mill Road              phone: (650)-236-2888
Palo Alto CA  94304-1126         FAX:   (650)-857-5100
Received on Wednesday, 6 February 2002 13:28:27 GMT

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