W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > September 2002

defining 'URI'

From: Larry Masinter <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Sun, 8 Sep 2002 10:32:24 -0700
To: <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <002001c2575d$b2466c90$6ace8642@masinter>

I stick by my original advice on this topic (in Roy's issue list):

  When we update RFC 2396, I suggest we add an introductory paragraph
  explaining that the term "URI" is used ambiguously in the community
  to mean "a URI reference" (corresponding to the URI-reference BNF entity)
  or "an absolute URI", and that for this reason, the term "URI" itself
  is not defined in the document.

  I'd probably fix the Abstract correspondingly, e.g.,

  "Informally, a Uniform Resource Identifier is a compact string...."

   so that people don't think that the abstract is normative.

and extend the advice to the TAG: it's devilishly hard to take a term
which is in widespread use for a number of different concepts and
restrict it to mean only one of them. (Even if you're the person
who made up the term in the first place.)

I think "redefining the term URI to mean something precise" is
one of those "boiling the ocean" tasks: lots of energy and it
won't work anyway. Why waste energy on this? If you need a technically
precise term, use something whose meaning hasn't been blurred
(e.g., 'anyURI' in the XML schema spec means something precise).

Received on Sunday, 8 September 2002 20:34:43 UTC

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