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Re: Is 303 really necessary?

From: Nathan <nathan@webr3.org>
Date: Thu, 04 Nov 2010 18:08:08 +0000
Message-ID: <4CD2F688.4020409@webr3.org>
To: Harry Halpin <hhalpin@ibiblio.org>
CC: Ian Davis <me@iandavis.com>, public-lod@w3.org, Doug Schepers <schepers@w3.org>
Harry Halpin wrote:
> On Thu, Nov 4, 2010 at 2:22 PM, Ian Davis <me@iandavis.com> wrote:
>> Hi all,
>>
>> The subject of this email is the title of a blog post I wrote last
>> night questioning whether we actually need to continue with the 303
>> redirect approach for Linked Data. My suggestion is that replacing it
>> with a 200 is in practice harmless and that nothing actually breaks on
>> the web. Please take a moment to read it if you are interested.
>>
>> http://iand.posterous.com/is-303-really-necessary
> 
> In a purely personal capacity, I like the approach of just using 200,
> i.e. with RDFa or whatever, rather than 303. If we want to
> disambiguate URIs, the IRW ontology [1] offers a nice class called
> "nonInformationResource" and "InformationResource" that one can use to
> disambiguate. See this paper [2] on "an Ontology of Resources for
> Linked Data" for a walk-through example.
> 
> My reasoning is not architectural, but simply efficiency. It is rather
> inefficient to have a redirection in the form of a 303 if one can get
> the same info without using 303.
> 
> Note that Microsoft's oData may one day be a serious competitor to
> Linked Data, and if you asked many programmers and open data people
> who are not already committed to RDF if they would use Atom + HTTP GET
> and no redirects over RDF/XML and a weird 303 redirect, I think the
> answer would be rather self-evident.
> 
> [1]http://ontologydesignpatterns.org/ont/web/irw.owl
> [2]http://events.linkeddata.org/ldow2009/papers/ldow2009_paper19.pdf

Harry,

Whilst I agree with all your reasons and have also raised the odata 
point myself on this list a few times, I can't agree that any kind of 
ontology is going to help with this.

You see it's not about what we say, it's about what other say, and if 10 
  huge corps analyse the web and spit out billions of triples saying 
that anything 200 OK'd is a document, then at the end when we consider 
the RDF graph of triples, all we're going to see is one statement saying 
something is a "nonInformationResource" and a hundred others saying it's 
a document and describing what it's about together with it's format and 
so on.

I honestly can't see how anything could reason over a graph that looked 
like that.

However, I'm also very aware that this all may be moot any ways, because 
many crawlers and HTTP agents just treat HTTP like a big black box, they 
don't know there ever was a 303 and don't know what the end URI is (even 
major browser vendors like chrome do this, setting the base wrong and 
everything) - so even the current 303 pattern doesn't keep different 
things with different names for /slash URIs in all cases.

Best,

Nathan
Received on Thursday, 4 November 2010 18:09:21 UTC

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