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Re: De-referencing a URI

From: Joseph M. Reagle Jr. <reagle@w3.org>
Date: Mon, 25 Jun 2001 09:35:58 -0400
Message-Id: <>
To: "Dournaee, Blake" <bdournaee@rsasecurity.com>
Cc: w3c-ietf-xmldsig@w3.org, connolly@w3.org
At 20:25 6/22/2001, Dournaee, Blake wrote:
>Is there a standard or note that defines exactly what it means to
>de-reference a URI? It seems like this term gets used a lot and I have yet
>to find a clear, specific definition.

I'm not aware of a formal definition (though it wouldn't surprise me if Dan 
Connolly hasn't created one), only informal conventions that are not always 
agreed to. From my understanding, the two words that get used a lot with 
respect to URIs are "resolve" and "dereference."

Resolved: from the way its used in RFC2396 [1] it seems pretty clear to me 
that a resolved URI is one in which a partial (e.g., relative) is resolved 
into its final (e.g., absolute) form, "the resolved path (i.e., treating 
them as part of the final URI)"

Dereference: used a lot in the HTML specs, probably based on the fairly 
common CS understanding [3], "To access the thing to which a pointer points,
i.e. to follow the pointer." I presume the definition is, "determine the URI 
scheme, then see that spec: ftp, http, urn, etc."

[1] http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt
[2] http://www.w3.org/TR/REC-html32

Joseph Reagle Jr.                 http://www.w3.org/People/Reagle/
W3C Policy Analyst                mailto:reagle@w3.org
IETF/W3C XML-Signature Co-Chair   http://www.w3.org/Signature
W3C XML Encryption Chair          http://www.w3.org/Encryption/2001/
Received on Monday, 25 June 2001 09:36:06 UTC

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