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Re: backronym proposal: Universal Resource Linker

From: Dan Brickley <danbri@danbri.org>
Date: Mon, 19 Apr 2010 07:53:14 +0200
Message-ID: <x2web19f3361004182253g6e254a74p2a9bb1f8194f0e13@mail.gmail.com>
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@day.com>
Cc: URI <uri@w3.org>
On Mon, Apr 19, 2010 at 2:21 AM, Roy T. Fielding <fielding@day.com> wrote:
> On Apr 18, 2010, at 4:44 PM, John A. Kunze wrote:
>> The "it" I had in mind, for those non-mind-readers on the list, was
>> people's tendency to become irrational when seeing the word Locator.
>> And the proposal would definitely help reduce that risk.
> No, it would just increase the tendency to become irrational for
> those folks who don't happen to be using a URL for linking.
> I think you all need to find a better hobby.  URI is a full
> Internet Standard and the generic syntax spec isn't likely to
> change in the next fifty or so years no matter what color you
> want to paint this shed.  You would need a couple thousand
> vendors to agree to such a change for it to even come close
> to overcoming the consensus we spent fifteen years attaining
> on the current name.

And how's that working out for you?

We've all been dutifully being saying "URI" for years, around here.
Sometimes even URI Reference, and lately IRI when we're feeling
especially proper. Meanwhile the original name is still very heavily
used, to understate the situation. In anything but the most
standards-addled settings, the single basic concept of URI *still*
needs a special introduction, and solely because it is named URI and
not URL. 15 years into the great "URI" experiment, 20 years into the
Web, we can't mention the name of it's fundamental technology without
having to explain that "it's a bit like an URL". This creates a
needless barrier between those who are building Web technology, and
those who use it.

What I am suggesting does not ask for any redefinition of URI, it's
specification, name or syntax. It is just a restoration to greater
respectability of the colloquial name. We lack, and I believe we need,
a single simple high level term for these things; something that
understood by doctors, journalists, artists, engineers, parents,
grandparents, children and puppies. Those who care will continue to
check the detail and use the real technical terms, and they will often
need language that carefully distinguishes IRIs from URIs. But for
most mainstream use, we lack an umbrella term and have (due to the URN
vs URI perma-debate) lost the ability to talk clearly about
UR-Locators. I am suggesting we say "if it's a URI, a URI Reference,
or an IRI, then ... sure, it's what we now casually call an URL". The
suggestion to change the acronym expansion could live or die
separately, but it does emphasise the core feature of the Web.

What do you prefer as the most over-arching and inclusive term to use
in everyday discourse?


Received on Monday, 19 April 2010 05:53:47 UTC

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