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Re: RFC 2396 revision issue: Query definition

From: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>
Date: Thu, 14 Nov 2002 14:25:16 +0000
Message-Id: <>
To: "Mark Nottingham" <mnot@mnot.net>
Cc: "Hrvoje Simic" <hrvoje.simic@zg.hinet.hr>, <uri@w3.org>

I assumed that the query was semantically indistinguishable from the rest 
of the path -- part of what Hrvroje said? -- how they are interpreted is 
entirely up to the software the provides access to resources for the 
indicated authority.  Anything more, I think, is just a convenient 
convention, and not bound to anything fundamental in the nature of form of 

E.g. I think a web server could legitimately serve *files* with names (and 
corresponding URIs) that just happened to contain substrings that look like 
URI query elements.

Hence, in the general case, reordering of queries must be regarded as 
significant (i.e. different URIs), even though some severs may choose to 
return values that are invariant under reordering of same.


At 11:34 AM 11/13/02 -0800, Mark Nottingham wrote:

>It would be nice if this could be addressed in some fashion. Thanks for
>bringing it up, and summarizing the history so nicely (I wasn't aware of
>the previous discussion).
> > My ideas on redefinition: query should be "identifying the resource
> > within the scope of that scheme and authority" just as the path is. The
> > difference between the components may be in ordering: while the path
> > segments must be in strict order (defining the path through a
> > hierarchy), query segments may be in arbitrary order, like "parameters"
> > or "switches". Information in query segments may also be optional and
> > generally more detailed than the path segments [1].
>Those feel like guidelines more than hard semantics; IIRC, the main
>distinction between URI path segments and URI parameters is that
>parameters aren't ordered, so that aspect doesn't distinguish queries.
>Perhaps what does distinguish queries is that while they are used in
>identifying the resource, they aren't used directly in
>locating/dereferencing it; just as fragment identifier semantics are
>interpreted on the client side in the scope of the resource's
>representation, so queries are interpreted on the server side in the scope
>of the located resource (which may be a new concept).
>I haven't worked through the ramifications of this; just food for thought.

Graham Klyne
Received on Thursday, 14 November 2002 10:16:58 UTC

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