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Re: URI Templates: done or dead?

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Wed, 17 Sep 2008 10:03:50 +1000
Cc: URI <uri@w3.org>, "David Orchard" <orchard@pacificspirit.com>, "Marc Hadley" <Marc.Hadley@sun.com>
Message-Id: <DCF5A918-F98B-4F6E-832C-73A7F227B443@mnot.net>
To: Joe Gregorio <joe@bitworking.org>

Joe, where can we find your issues list?


On 16/09/2008, at 1:09 PM, Joe Gregorio wrote:

>
> On Mon, Sep 15, 2008 at 7:57 AM, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>  
> wrote:
>> There hasn't been a lot of discussion or activity on URI Templates  
>> recently,
>> which either means it's very stable, or very nearly dead.
>
> Neither, I have a list of open issues that were raised from the last
> I-D and I have yet to address them, but I do plan on addressing them,
> and that plan is slowly working its way higher on my to do list.
>
> In the interim I have been keeping track of implementations:
>
>   http://code.google.com/p/uri-templates/wiki/Implementations
>
>   Thanks,
>   -joe
>
>>
>> If it's very stable, we should ship it and be done with it. If it's  
>> nearly
>> dead (and I do get a whiff of that; while I continuously hear people
>> clamouring for it to be finished, not many seem to be willing to  
>> use it in
>> its current state; YMMV), we should at least try to revive it.
>>
>> My continuing concerns with the -03 draft are that it's too  
>> complex, not
>> human-friendly, and it makes the common, simple use cases hard. The  
>> first
>> example in the spec ( http://www.example.com/users/{userid} ) holds  
>> up well,
>> but it goes quickly downhill from there; (
>> http://www.example.com/?{-join|&|query,number} ) looks like line  
>> noise,
>> IMHO.
>>
>> I believe there are a few things we can do to make URI Template  
>> more broadly
>> useful and useable, without sacrificing too much functionality (at  
>> least in
>> the 80% case).
>>
>> 1. Reduce or drop operators.
>>
>> As mentioned above, they don't read well; they're obviously  
>> intended for
>> machines, not people. The expansion for a template should be  
>> blindingly
>> obvious, but the operator syntax seems to want to get in the way  
>> rather than
>> help. Furthermore, the vast majority of use cases for templates are  
>> for
>> simple template substitution, not operations like 'neg' and 'opt'.
>>
>> 2. Drop list values.
>>
>> Again, the majority of use cases out there have no need for list  
>> values in
>> template variables, and including them in the spec significantly  
>> complicates
>> things.
>>
>> 3. Make percent-encoding context-sensitive.
>>
>> There are just too many cases where the 'escape everything but  
>> unreserved'
>> rule gets in the way; for example, if my template is
>> "http://example.com/user/{email}", I'm going to have percent- 
>> encoded @ signs
>> in my URIs whether I like it or not -- even though they're not  
>> required to
>> be percent-encoded there. This is a relatively simple thing to do,  
>> as long
>> as we also...
>>
>> 4. Allow exceptions to percent-encoding.
>>
>> We need a syntax that allows characters to be excepted from  
>> encoding, even
>> in context. As a straw-man, I suggest preceding the expression with  
>> the
>> characters that are excepted, like:
>>
>>  http://example.com/{/path}
>>  http://example.com/thing{?&=query_args}
>>
>> and so forth.
>>
>> 5. If we keep operators at all, mint special ones for the common  
>> cases.
>>
>> E.g., something to handle encoded form query values "out of the box":
>> http://example.com/thing{-?a=foo&b=bar&c=baz}
>> and likewise with matrix parameters.
>>
>>
>> Let's see if that shakes things up...
>>
>>
>> --
>> Mark Nottingham     http://www.mnot.net/
>>
>>
>
>
>
> -- 
> Joe Gregorio http://bitworking.org
>


--
Mark Nottingham     http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Wednesday, 17 September 2008 00:04:29 UTC

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