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Re: Relative URI or relative URI reference

From: Sam Ruby <rubys@intertwingly.net>
Date: Thu, 19 Aug 2004 18:25:37 -0400
Message-ID: <412528E1.3050108@intertwingly.net>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>
CC: uri@w3.org

Roy T. Fielding wrote:

> On Thursday, August 19, 2004, at 01:58  PM, Sam Ruby wrote:
> 
>>> If you want to speak for yourself -- do you personally think the
>>> wording in RFC2396bis is confusing? -- then that would be
>>> fine, too.
>>
>> I personally find the following confusing in RFC296bis:
>>
>> The title of section 4.2:
>>
>>   Relative URI
>>
>> I understand and appreciate the argument that the BNF needs to retain 
>> the previous usage of the term (some informative text making this 
>> history clear wouldn't hurt), but the title shouldn't reinforce the 
>> now incorrect usage of this term.
> 
> There is nothing incorrect about that term!  You are imagining some
> mystical quality that simply does not exist.  "Relative URI" does
> not imply anything about the definition of URI.  We call it that because
> that is the term people look for when they say: "gee, I wonder what part
> of this document talks about relative URI?"  That is why the section is
> titled Relative URI, the following section is titled Absolute URI,
> and the parent section is titled Usage.  Those things are still called
> "relative URI" in common practice, technology, specification, and
> implementation.  They *should* be called that.  A "relative reference"
> is an instance of the relative-URI syntax *when* it occurs inside a
> URI-reference protocol element.
> 
> The text of those sections, and the associated ABNF, defines
> those protocol elements in a way that is unambiguous.  Changing the
> titles and the ABNF element just makes it harder for implementers
> to find the definitions.

I was asked what I find confusing.

If the ABNF for URI does not allow for expression of relative 
references, then I find title "relative URI" to be reinforcing a 
confusing misconception.

I submit that if the title of this section were "Relative URI 
Reference", then it would both be found by people looking for "Relative 
URI" and would not continue to perpetuate a misconception.

>> The fifth bullet of section 6.3:
>>
>>    Prevent dot-segments appearing in non-relative URI paths.
>>
>> I'll suggest dropping the words "non-relative" from this text.
> 
> Yes, that is a bug.  A suggestion was made at the IETF meeting to
> drop the entire section on the basis that it just repeats most of
> what has already been said better elsewhere.

I believe that was in part based on my pointing out of a few things that 
were less than clear as to whether or not they were to be consider 
normalized (e.g., null queries, fragments, authorities containing "@" 
with a null userinfo or ":" with a null port).

I personally am quite OK with the removal of section 6.3, but I'm hoping 
that these questions get clarified some place in the text.

- Sam Ruby
Received on Thursday, 19 August 2004 22:25:41 UTC

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