W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > September 2000

RE: URIs-Resource relationships

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Date: Thu, 07 Sep 2000 17:19:15 -0400
Message-Id: <200009072116.RAA04979@hesketh.net>
To: "Fielding, Roy" <fielding@eBuilt.com>, uri@w3.org
At 12:51 PM 9/7/00 -0700, Fielding, Roy wrote:
>> Uniform processing for URIs would have saved a lot of us a 
>> hell of a lot of trouble, and still could.
>> Leaving the spec as vague as possible may be exciting to some 
>> folks, and may avoid some categories of political irritation, but isn't 
>> useful to a large group of people faced with the task of figuring out 
>> exactly how these identifiers are supposed to work.
>The specification is not vague.  It specifies exactly what is intended
>by resource.  URI is a syntax for a resource identifier.  The URI does
>not define the resource -- some person/author/community does.  When you
>GET on a URI, you retrieve a representation of that resource at the
>time that the response was generated.

'Exactly what is intended by resource' still comes off as vague, to put it
extremely politely.

>There are literally millions of other things that could be said about
>resources and about URI, but none of them could make the definition any
>less incompassing without ignoring some aspect of resource space that
>someone else depends upon.  Furthermore, since HTTP depends on the
>entire scope, it isn't going to be limited any further.

There's a difference between ignoring aspects of resource space and
providing a basic set of rules that allow generic URI comparison and

>> A spec that says "any way you want" isn't very much of a spec, is it?
>> RFC 2396 isn't very far from that, I'm afraid.
>RFC 2396 defines everything you need to interoperate with real URI-based
>systems.  It doesn't have all the information that is in my dissertation,
>but it is sufficient to develop any application I have ever seen,
>including anything related to XML, RDF, and namespaces.

Is there a URI for your dissertation?

>The answer to your question is: if the existing definition of resource
>is insufficient for your application, then your application is not designed
>to handle the full scope of what a resource may be.  Either live with
>that limitation or fix your application.

Unfortunately, working in XML, I have little control over which URIs I work
with; it's not simply a matter of my choice or even my application.

Simon St.Laurent
XML Elements of Style / XML: A Primer, 2nd Ed.
XHTML: Migrating Toward XML
http://www.simonstl.com - XML essays and books
Received on Thursday, 7 September 2000 17:16:07 UTC

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