W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > semantic-web@w3.org > April 2010

Re: its name

From: Alexander Johannesen <alexander.johannesen@gmail.com>
Date: Thu, 8 Apr 2010 14:26:58 +1000
Message-ID: <y2lf950954e1004072126tdacafee6oe992a3c3ddc7f9ef@mail.gmail.com>
To: Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com>
Cc: Semantic Web <semantic-web@w3.org>

Danny Ayers <danny.ayers@gmail.com> wrote:
> I believe people have been able to distinguish documents from things
> ever since documents were invented. I can't see why it shouldn't be
> possible to tap into a 50,000 year old meme.

But what *is* the difference between a document and a web page? What
is the difference between a HTML page and a PDF page and an XML page
or and SVG page, if all of them carry the same text (or message or
intention or message)?

You see, I think these things are hugely important to us as
technologists, but totally uninteresting to normal people. I may be
extrapolating from ignorance, of course, but it's similar to what I
learned in all my years working in the library sector; people don't
know what stacks are, no matter how much librarians pushed that point;
they call them shelves.

>> What's the problem with him?
> He annoys me the way he argues stuff. I am effectively an atheist, but
> his approach makes me want to run & hide in a church.

Wanna pop me a private mail on this one? I'm a big fan and don't
understand it when people say these things, like him being strident;
is that even negative? Or something religious people don't do? I find
it fascinating.

> Ok. And people used to have to walk in front of cars with a red flag.

Um, ok. Are you suggesting you're that guy, and I'm the big tank
trying to get through so I can kill some more students? :)

>>  - a website
>>  - a web page
>> The latter is the human form of a resource with a http(s) URI address.
>> I don't think there's a better way.
> why not a thing with a name?

Like "web page"? I think the notion of that web page being a video or
picture is part of a larger discussion on categories. Personally, I
think 'web page' is a super-class of resources we put on the web (a
video or picture still is addressed as a web page), except pages of
text which still are just 'web page.'

> Ok, I'm not altogether sure it's possible with the current
> terminology, Resource is so overloaded, but Thing seems fairly clean.

I use "Item" for such things. But then I can put "items" into
"buckets" and ruining it ... hehe.

> But I don't think you have to talk about the leap to protocols - we
> already have millions of people behaving in conformance to those
> protocols.

Only because they don't know how not to. People use browsers, not FTP
clients or IRC or virtual networks or telnet or what have you. Only
geeks and nerds do that. Yes, it's a simplification, but I doubt it's
all that wrong. Heck, most browsers natively or through plugins can
deal with most popular protocols anyways. Does your virtual mom know
the difference between getting a web page using HTTP, HTTPS, FTP or
any other means? Does she care that there is a difference as long as
that thing she was after comes up?

I struggle with people all the time who complain that their browser
back button disappears after reading some web page, only to find that
what happened was they clicked a PDF link, and Acrobat Reader came up
with it in front of their browser. That's perfectly normal; there is
no hypermedia, only the web on which there's stuff I get with the
browser, and an ever increasing level of sophistication up to
protocols and REST and down to TCP/IP and friends.

I think we do have to talk about protocols between us, because we
think they are important. The rest of the world probably don't.

>> But people *don't* care about this, only technologists do. People care
>> about websites and web pages, but they don't care about the protocol,
> There is a difference between the wire protocol and the human protocol.
> The human model of the world is clearly the one that matters, and the
> difference between a thing and a piece of paper that talks about it is
> pretty significant, and obvious to a human. Thanks to the path technology
> has taken most of the Web has the piece of paper model, but that's not to
> say people have.

I still don't see it, and I'm getting a bit confused here; my point
has all along been that the human protocol (in lack of a better term)
is *the* most important thing, and everything else is just
technological glue and jargon that a few care about. You see this in
any field in the real world, even bus drivers have a specialized
language and processes and protocols that I can't (and refuse to) find
out, but that doesn't mean I can't get from point A to point B and pay
some money to do so. I'm sure there's collection-points, by-lines,
fees, calculated mean cost, and so on, lots of stuff I don't need nor
want to know about. URIs and REST is *our* special language, and "web
page" is that human version, and I don't see why they need to know.

One thing I should ask at this point, though, and something that I
don't think was clear from the beginning; *why* do you want this to
happen? What problem are we solving by teaching the world (no less)
that the "web page" is actually a collection of things, called
resources, that you can retrieve through various protocols which
various programs may or may not support?

Kind regards,

 Project Wrangler, SOA, Information Alchemist, UX, RESTafarian, Topic Maps
--- http://shelter.nu/blog/ ----------------------------------------------
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Received on Thursday, 8 April 2010 04:27:31 UTC

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