W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-rdf-interest@w3.org > April 2002

RE: Documents, Cars, Hills, and Valleys

From: Bill de hÓra <dehora@eircom.net>
Date: Wed, 10 Apr 2002 14:01:33 +0100
To: <www-rdf-interest@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002201c1e08f$d98fce30$887ba8c0@mitchum>
Hash: SHA1

> -----Original Message-----
> From: www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org 
> [mailto:www-rdf-interest-request@w3.org] On Behalf Of Miles Sabin
> > Or look at it yet another way; what clear use-cases exist today
> > for  saying that an http:// URI does *not* identify a document?
> I'm simply proposing that we align or understanding of URIs 
> with current practice rather than some change which demands 
> use-cases in justification. It's current practice in the 
> general user community to 
> think of URIs as referring to things other than documents.

Normal users don't think about URLs at all, and URIs much less than
that, as evidenced by the fact the majority of them
don't/won't/can't manipulate the address bar. They think about
websites and browsing through them and they click on stuff. They'll
have 'www dot something dot com' in their heads from time to time.
What normal users think about doesn't seem to be basis for any
discussion about the URI as architectural component, other than
saying application defines behaviour. There's no ambiguity here,
just different internal models of how the web works.

> For that matter, what about the XML developer community? As
> things  stand a namespace URI refers to an abstract (ie.
> non-retrievable)  resource rather than any particular document.
> IMO many of the 
> problems 
> we've had with the interpretation of namespace URIs boils down to
>  trying to square the circle of having a supposedly unambiguous
> URI  refer simultaneously to two or more distinct resources.
> > What are the scenarios that we break by saying that an http://
> > URI always identifies a document?
> Almost all the scenarios which matter to the general user
> community.  

I don't understand this. If a bunch of web architects want to
standardize on URIs identifying documents, how does anything break?
I doubt that the browser makers are going to change how browsers
behave because of that. What normal users think about the web is
built up by making a model of it from the browser behaviour and
their interaction with it: that model is 'surfing the web'. It's
wrong in the sense a flat earth is wrong, but it works well enough
for browsing as a flat earth does for walking. 

Bill de hÓra


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Received on Wednesday, 10 April 2002 09:07:57 UTC

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