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Re: Arch doc: meaning of term 'representation'?: Re: TB16 Re:Comments on arch doc draft

From: Patrick Stickler <patrick.stickler@nokia.com>
Date: Thu, 04 Jul 2002 10:44:23 +0300
To: ext Jonathan Borden <jonathan@openhealth.org>, WWW TAG <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <B949D787.17DA2%patrick.stickler@nokia.com>

On 2002-07-03 21:27, "ext Jonathan Borden" <jonathan@openhealth.org> wrote:

> In any case, since we disagree (and RFC 2068 isn't completely clear, nor is
> RFC 2396 particularly helpful) this clarification is important for the
> Architecture Document.

I agree.

> I would say:
> "A representation of a resource is a serialization of some description of
> the resource. The representation may be full fidelity, i.e. a complete
> description, or it may be partial, i.e. describes some aspect of the
> resource. The interpretation of any such representation is determined by its
> MIME type."

*IF* a clear distinction was made between a "full fidelity" representation
and a partial or proxy representation, such as a description or rendition,
etc., and that distinction was communicated by the HTTP server when
returning the representation, then I could live with that (other than
the last sentence, which is nonsense, since a description of a resource
could have the same MIME type as the resource itself, etc.).

HTTP servers must make such a distinction clear in a similar fashion to
that described in 


But if there is no distinction provided in the HTTP response codes, then
while the above may be acceptable for humans surfing the web, it is
completely unacceptable for Semantic Web agents -- which will presume
that if they ask for a particular resource and get something back,
it is a 'representation with full fidelity' and not something else.

A Semantic Web agent that asks for a resource and gets a description
of a resource is not going to necessarily realize it is not
the same thing.

If an HTTP server is not going to return the actual resource denoted
by a given URI, in 'full fidelity' then it should say so. Any
application (even any human) has a right to know that they are not
getting what they asked for, and not be left to figure that out
for themselves.


Patrick Stickler              Phone: +358 50 483 9453
Senior Research Scientist     Fax:   +358 7180 35409
Nokia Research Center         Email: patrick.stickler@nokia.com
Received on Thursday, 4 July 2002 03:44:20 UTC

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