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Re: FW: LC Comments: Web Method Feature

From: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Date: Fri, 5 Jul 2002 10:59:36 -0400
To: "Williams, Stuart" <skw@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Cc: "'xml-dist-app@w3.org'" <xml-dist-app@w3.org>
Message-ID: <20020705105936.P10550@www.markbaker.ca>

Hey Stuart,

On Fri, Jul 05, 2002 at 02:06:33PM +0100, Williams, Stuart wrote:
> And HTTP knows the intent of the message? That a message is intended to
> cause money to be debited from my credit card and some goods to be shipped
> to my home address?

"intent" is such a fuzzy word, but I didn't know what else to call it.

There are obviously different levels (not layers) of "intent".  For
example, I could send you my email address with HTTP simply because
you asked me too.  What is my intent there?  Just to send you the
address, nothing more.  But I could also send it to you with the intent
of subscribing to your "Dead Cat Stories" mailing list.  In each case,
it is sent with the "intent" of POST.  In the second case however, there
is an "extended intent", which can be indicated with a mechanism like
SOAPAction/action (and also the URI to which I send it, but I'll ignore
that for the moment).  But it doesn't replace the intent of POST, it
just extends it; I'm sending it *and* intending that the action of
sending it results in my being subscribed to your list.

So HTTP itself doesn't know the extended intent, but all HTTP agents
seeing the message could know it.

Also, GET, PUT, and DELETE are also intents, though they cannot be
extended in the same way as POST because their definitions don't allow
for it (you might recall my suggestion for a SOAP-PUT method for this
reason).

> Well there's to rub... you attribute the label 'application' to HTTP and
> IIRC the 'application' that you cite HTTP as being the 'application' for is
> 'the Web'. I find myself seeing 'the Web' as a platform upon which
> applications in classes such as on-line commerce, news and information
> delivery, search and retrieval... and there are many instances of
> applications in each of these classes. Which makes the Web a means and not
> an end.

Definitely a terminology issue, but what you build when you build a "Web
app" is not an application in the OSI sense of the word, it's just an
addition to the existing application of the Web, though perhaps with
"extended intents".

> I fear that we may be well off topic by now...

I wouldn't say that at all.  I believe what we're discussing here is one
of the core issues at the heart of the tension between Web services and
the Web.

MB
-- 
Mark Baker, CTO, Idokorro Mobile (formerly Planetfred)
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.               distobj@acm.org
http://www.markbaker.ca        http://www.idokorro.com
Received on Friday, 5 July 2002 11:01:43 GMT

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