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RE: Status of RFC 1738 -- 'ftp' URI scheme

From: Cheney, Austin <Austin.Cheney@travelocity.com>
Date: Wed, 12 Jan 2011 04:51:15 -0600
To: Paul Prescod <paul@prescod.net>
CC: John Cowan <cowan@mercury.ccil.org>, URI <uri@w3.org>
Message-ID: <9FB4E1C2C67D214BAF184CE12F7DF4DB29139D22DB@SGTULMMP005.Global.ad.sabre.com>
> If I understand your concern correctly then I would respond:that RFC
> 3986 has section 1.1.3.  URI, URL, and URN, which clarifies the
> distinction.

RFC 3986:
A URI can be further classified as a locator, a name, or both.  The
term "Uniform Resource Locator" (URL) refers to the subset of URIs
that, in addition to identifying a resource, provide a means of
locating the resource by describing its primary access mechanism
(e.g., its network "location").

This is the clarification specified by RFC 3986, which echoes my
previous email.  1) URL is a subset of URI.  2) URL seeks to "provide a
means of locating the resource", or resolution.

> Your terminology is imprecise, and in this case precision is crucial.

My terminology comes directly from RFC 1738 and RFC 3986.  If precision
is crucial then let's not start making things up.  It seems from the
following language the inference in question appears to be confusion of
grammar versus vocabulary.

> Resolution is something that curl, or Chrome or Mobile Safari does.
> URLs do not resolve things.

In this the problem is confusion of verb versus adverb.  "Resolve" is a
verb, an action, but I have not seen this word used in RFC 1738 or RFC
3986 to describe URL.  The word "resolution" is an adverb, which
describes and is not an action.  Browsers resolve URLs.  Resolution
describes the process of accessing a DNS lookup to discover the location
and host of a resource.  To be absolutely precise is using the language
supplied, literally, and not interpretations upon that language.  To be
further precise the terms "resolve" and "resolution" are not used in RFC
1738, but they are in RFC 3986, Section 5.

RFC 3986, Section 5: Reference Resolution
This section defines the process of resolving a URI reference within
a context that allows relative references so that the result is a
string matching the <URI> syntax rule of Section 3.

The process referred to in section 5's introductory paragraph is best
summarized by section 5's subheadings.  Perhaps this language could
represent an inference of resolution, particularly "process of
resolving".  Unfortunately, this is difference of context.  Resolution
as you used it implies accessing the DNS system, or a lookup by a web
browser application.  Resolution, as used in RFC 3986, strictly refers
to a process of parsing a text string into a relative reference, or
application parsing.

I can understand and appreciate the confusion of similar terms that have
multiple inferences used in one context that differs from common

To be precise URLs are for resolving resources.  URIs are for
identifying and addressing resources.  This is so, because both
documents specify what a URL is and RFC 3986 clarifies that distinction.
If precision is important please indicate which language of which
document obsoletes RFC 1738.  Furthermore, what does 99% obsolete mean?
A document is either valid or invalid.  RFC documents are rendered
obsolete by replacement and no other means.  If I am in error can we be
precise as to the nature of the term "obsolete" as used by the IETF?


Austin Cheney, Travelocity User Experience
Received on Wednesday, 12 January 2011 10:54:29 UTC

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