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Re: What does a document mean?

From: Tim Bray <tbray@textuality.com>
Date: Sun, 31 Mar 2002 20:45:41 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>, www-tag@w3.org
At 10:29 AM 29/03/02 -0500, Elliotte Rusty Harold wrote:

>A document on the Web is a stream of bits identified with a specific MIME type. The MIME type indicates to the processor how it may interpret the stream of bits to decompose it into a sequence of characters, for example, or a specific bitmap image.
>I don't know that I believe that all documents on the Web have MIME types. 

Yes they do.  If only application/octet-stream.  If they don't
they're not on the web.

>And what about documents that aren't on the Web? Wouldn't it be prudent to have a definition of "document"?

We don't care about them.  Maybe the title should be changed to
"what does a document on the Web mean?"

>An unrelated point: is it possible that a document is an infinite or at least indefinite stream of bits? If not, we should  state that a document is a finite stream of bits.

Yes, we should state that.

>Also the word "stream" seems a little too suggestive of particular APIs. I suggest that the word "sequence" is more precisely defined, more likely to be understood, and less likely to cause confusion.

I agree.

>Finally, are we really sure that a document on the Web is always bits? and always will be? What about non-binary computers? 

I'm OK with not trying to build in this much generality. -Tim
Received on Sunday, 31 March 2002 23:57:51 UTC

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