W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > January 2003

use of fragments as names is irresponsible

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@apache.org>
Date: Tue, 14 Jan 2003 14:10:30 -0800
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <FE7053B2-280C-11D7-92BC-000393753936@apache.org>

This new IETF draft came to my attention today.


    A number of algorithm and keying information identifying URIs
    intended for use with XML Digital Signatures, Encryption, and
    Canonnicalization are defined.

Note that all of the algorithms, methods, and other tokens are named
within a flat name space rooted at


meaning that the only way to obtain information about any one algorithm
is to examine the entire namespace (including almost all of 
and then indirect from there.  That is just plain wrong and contrary to
every sensible notion of naming on the Web.  Names are intended to be
hierarchical, and algorithms almost always contain a subset of names
that should have their own identifiers within the scope of that 

Somewhere along the line the W3C got hooked on the notion that URIs
are opaque and hierarchy is meaningless.  That is bogus, as evidenced
by every decent information site on the web today.  Well-designed URIs
reflect a classification system that is understandable by humans, 
or not a human ever sees them, and regardless of how many different
classification systems may apply to a resource.  This is a
well-researched aspect of hypermedia systems that goes all the way
back to NLS/Augment.  W3C specifications should not be defining lousy
information spaces.

Received on Tuesday, 14 January 2003 17:10:41 UTC

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