W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > uri@w3.org > December 2007

Re: URI registries and schemes

From: Clive D.W. Feather <clive@demon.net>
Date: Thu, 13 Dec 2007 10:58:14 +0000
To: Mike Schinkel <mikeschinkel@gmail.com>
Cc: "'Erik Wilde'" <dret@berkeley.edu>, uri@w3.org
Message-ID: <20071213105814.GL14832@finch-staff-1.thus.net>

Mike Schinkel said:
>     Would be be willing to explore why you find it weird? I find the concept
> beautifully elegant, but like a programming language with a few core
> concepts where everything is built out of those core concepts and almost
> nothing is "special" (maybe that is why I like Python and dislike PHP...) In
> reading your emails I've been trying to figure out what fundamentally makes
> you so adverse to the concept on top of HTTP?  I really would appreciate
> understanding your point of view on this. Thanks in advance.

Well, I find it distasteful *because* I like programming languages with
clear core concepts. This feels like the LISP approach of "we'll do it all
in the library". There may be a simple structure, but it's hidden behind a
maze of twisty little interfaces, all different.

But, more practically, there's a conceptual difference between
"the location 52d17'N 0d03'E" and "a web page from <X> about the location
52d17'N 0d03'E". There's an accepted way to represent concepts: URNs. To my
mind, there should be:

    urn:location:wg84:+5217,+00003    (or whatever encoding gets used)

and browsers and other tools should have a way for the user to determine
how - if at all - those get used. Thus my browser might know the mapping:

    urn:location:osbg:{grid}  ->  http://www.streetmap.co.uk/?={grid}

while yours uses the mapping:

    urn:location:osbg:{grid}  ->  http://maps.google.co.uk/q={grid}&cs=osgb

Meanwhile, my sat-nav accepts the URN as a "home" location, or a
destination, or whatever. These aren't information requests (URIs) but
location data. Different things.

Yes, the syntax *could* be:


instead, but that then provides semantic confusion. You still need to have
a registry of names, but your approach seems to me to add a layer of
bureaucracy (the "foundation") and an overloading of two concepts on to one
syntax, which is almost certainly a bad thing. In particular, how does my
browser distinguish between:

* I want to see {grid} on Streetmap.
* I want to see what location.org are saying about {grid}.


Clive D.W. Feather  | Work:  <clive@demon.net>   | Tel:    +44 20 8495 6138
Internet Expert     | Home:  <clive@davros.org>  | Fax:    +44 870 051 9937
Demon Internet      | WWW: http://www.davros.org | Mobile: +44 7973 377646
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Received on Thursday, 13 December 2007 10:58:32 UTC

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