Re: Symbolic vs Numeric identifiers (was Re: URL internationalization!)

Fisher Mark (
Mon, 3 Mar 1997 11:01:25 -0500

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From: Fisher Mark <>
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Cc: "''" <>,
Subject: RE: Symbolic vs Numeric identifiers (was Re: URL internationalization!)
Date: Mon, 3 Mar 1997 11:01:25 -0500

Gavin, you write:
>>Right. The fundamental argument here is whether URL's are supposed to
>>be completely opaque or not. Given current usage, it's awfully hard
>>to make a case for opaqueness... not that I think the opaque 
>>representation concept isn't useful: I think it's vital.

The important point here is that URIs that can be meaningful can also be
meaningless, but the converse is not generally true.  For many
applications, URIs that are meaningless to the casual observer are the
right choice (the talked-about ISBN URN).  In other cases, especially in
Intranets, meaningful URIs are the right choice.

BTW, does anyone know if the original CERN <URL:>
Web started out by using meaningless URLs?  (I only started on the Web
in Dec. 1993, by which time CERN's URLs made sense to me.)  Certainly,
from what I understand, the original NextStep environment should have
made using meaningless URLs easy, as the user should have been able to
just treat them as magic cookies.
>Mark Leighton Fisher                   Thomson Consumer Electronics
>                 Indianapolis, IN