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RE: now://example.org/car (was lack of consensus on httpRange-14)

From: Champion, Mike <Mike.Champion@SoftwareAG-USA.com>
Date: Tue, 8 Oct 2002 23:05:21 -0400
Message-ID: <9A4FC925410C024792B85198DF1E97E4042257DB@usmsg03.sagus.com>
To: "'www-tag@w3.org'" <www-tag@w3.org>



> -----Original Message-----
> From: Roy T. Fielding [mailto:fielding@apache.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 08, 2002 7:24 PM
> To: Micah Dubinko
> Cc: 'Graham Klyne'; 'www-tag@w3.org'
> Subject: Re: now://example.org/car (was lack of consensus on
> httpRange-14)
 
> "http" does not imply that HTTP is going to be used -- it only defines
> the naming syntax: a method of defining the naming authority and name
> within that authority.  The fact that it also describes an access
> mechanism for attempting to manipulate the resource through the
> exchange of representations via HTTP does not imply that such 
> mechanism is operable, accessible, or authorable by anyone, let alone 
> some random person using the identifier solely for the purpose of
identification.

That's true, of course.  But I think it misses the point that Micah and
others are tying to make:  so much of the web folklore, and the client
programs, and the practical experience of people who have no idea what
"HTTP" in the URL means, leads all but uber-geeks inexorably to the
conclusion that "HTTP means I click on it and get something back." 

Yup, this is stupid. But I'm reminded of a quote from Tim Bray in the most
recent TAG telcon minutes (in another context): "We need to tease out
technical issues. If people continue to hold positions based on other
reasons (e.g., emotional), those reasons probably won't hold."  I wish that
were true, but in my experience the "emotional reasons" often tap into some
unavoidable realities.  You can explain what HTTP *really* is until you're
hoarse and your carpal tunnel syndrome becomes chronic, but that won't
change the "reality" that 99.999% of the URLs (I use the term advisedly)
people come across identify some bag of bits on the web, and not (to their
way of thinking) a "method of defining the naming authority and name within
that authority."  Confusion has its cost, and maybe the cost of doing
something as theoretically pointless and ugly as a "now://" scheme for
resources that are Not On the Web is lower than the cost of explaining "name
in naming authority" thing over and over and over.

Also,in the immortal words of Dogbert :-)

"Dogbert, do you think love is the strongest force in the universe?"
"No, I'd have to go with stupidity."
"But love is in the top ten, right?"
"It's fourteenth, right after foolish optimism."
Received on Tuesday, 8 October 2002 23:05:22 UTC

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