Re: Comments on draft-hollenbeck-ietf-xml-guidelines-02.txt

On Tue, Apr 30, 2002 at 09:40:00AM -0700, Tim Bray wrote:
> Michael Mealling wrote:
> >>While I don't disagree with the language, is there any way to put 
> >>pressure on IETF to build some webspace for this purpose?  Failing this, 
> >>the effect is likely to be widespread use of URNs, which is not ideal 
> >>practice for namespaces.
> >
> >Could you please either explain or point to a discussion that says why it 
> >isn't ideal? The Namespaces Rec uses them all over the place and 
> >specifically says: 
> To meet the goals of the namespace REC, there is no requirement that 
> "namespace documents" - what you get by dereferencing a namespace name, 
> if possible - exist.  But lots of people create them and they seem to be 
> useful.  Based on this observation, recently the W3C TAG took up the 
> question and has made pretty good progress.  My position paper on the 
> issue may be found at
> While this doesn't represent TAG consensus yet, I suspect we are going 
> achieve consensus on something including many of these points.
> To summarize the case against URNs: It's good for namespace documents 
> exist, and it's good for them to be available, and most people can't 
> dereference URNs.  -Tim

But doesn't all of that depend on the application? Let's assume that
the CNRP group updated the CNRP specification and made it into
a namespace. The IETF has been pretty much opposed to putting 
document locations like that in standards (for good reasons that
some in the W3C might disagree with). The CNRP Working Group would
use a URN as a way to ensure that the name _NOT_ be dereferenced
through the IETF or IANA web sites but instead through some local

I.e. we want to use URNs specifically because they're not usually
dereferenced and we have good and valid reasons for not wanting to do that.
There are mechanisms for discovering information about a URN but the URN
itself doesn't define it and thus create that expectation. 

Hmm.... looking at your document the logic used to get to the idea that
URNs are bad for Namespace names is kind of circular. You assume that
since a large portion of people use 'http:' scheme namespace names that
those users might think they are retrievable. Since there is that
assumption then we should all use 'http:' scheme names.  What if 
I _DON'T_ want the namespace name to be resolvable
by a conscious decision?

Even still you also assert that namespace names aren't frequently dereferenced 
at run-time. So the value of saying URNs are bad is even less evident.
Either they're dereferenced or they're not....

I guess for me (and many on the URI-IG Group) the question comes down to this:
 are URIs generic for the web or not?

If they are then the TAG should make sure that the web's architecture is scheme
agnostic. It might make statements about what semantics it might require
of a scheme but, IMNSHO, for robustness and generality, the TAG's output
shouldn't make statements about what schemes it happens to like or dislike.


P.S. I though the TAG was going to defer to the URI group URI related 
issues? At least that's they way it was represented to me....

Michael Mealling	|      Vote Libertarian!       | urn:pin:1      |                              |

Received on Tuesday, 30 April 2002 13:13:35 UTC