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Re: [httpRange-14] empiricism was Re: resources and URIs

From: Sandro Hawke <sandro@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 17 Jul 2003 13:45:23 -0400
Message-Id: <200307171745.h6HHjNZe030177@roke.hawke.org>
To: "Jonathan Borden" <jonathan@openhealth.org>
cc: "Dan Connolly" <connolly@w3.org>, "pat hayes" <phayes@ihmc.us>, www-tag@w3.org, "Pat Hayes" <phayes@ai.uwf.edu>

> http://www.w3.org/1999/XSL/Transform
> http://www.w3.org/2000/svg
> http://www.w3.org/2001/XMLSchema
> Now we have 3 URIs created by the W3C over the course of 3 years. The
> representations obtained on dereferencing the URIs state that these are
> intended to be "XML Namespaces"

But they state it in English, thank goodness, so we have some wiggle
room.  If they said it in RDF we might have to conclude they were
simply false, since they were logically inconsistent with our
ontologies (yours and mine at least) of XML Namespaces.

It being English, we can read "This is an XML namespace defined in..." as
"This is the offical page of information about the XML namespace
... defined in ...".   Of course that level of self-description is a
bit silly, but it might be necessary while people are figuring out

> I understand this position, you are saying that all HTTP URIs identify
> *documents*, that is to say all resources which are directly 'on the web'
> and who are identified by HTTP URIs are documents.

My current thinking is that HTTP URIs most directly denote
ResponsePoints [1].  I think all the other theories can be built out
from this one, but jumping straight to the others over this one makes
inaccessible something vital.  I see the appeal of "documents", but I
prefer to think of the document as something delivered to the client
by some server handling that ResponsePoint.

I'm interested in any practical use of HTTP URIs which doesn't fit
into this model.  (cc www-archive, not www-tag, please).

> I just can't reconcile this by accepting that an 'XML Namespace' is a type
> of 'document'. Do you think that the XML Namespaces REC ought be modified to
> deprecate namespace names which are not URI references? Do you believe the
> Web Architecture ought be documented based on its empirical existence or
> based on a grander design?

We can reconcile these views by saying that Namespace URIs do NOT
denote Namespaces.  They "indicate" them or something; they map to
them via some other function.

However, it doesn't matter, because we can just avoid the whole
question of what the namespace URI identifies or denote.  We don't
need no stinkin' "resources".  The namespace URI simply lets agents
get to information which is in some sense official or authoritative
(and hopefully useful and relevant) for working with XML documents
using that namespace URI.  It would sure be nice if we had some good
standards for agents to follow in doing this.  [ cf RDDL of course ]

My use of "official" or "authoritative" is of course controvercial and
more constraining than the Namespaces Recommendation.  But if we want
XML to live up to its implied promise of cross-application
interoperability, then we need the semantics to come from somewhere,
and I don't know how else we could make this work.   It's fine to have
a thousand flowers offering semantics associated with a namespace, but
if we don't pick one (eg via URI dereferencing), then I don't see us
achieving interoperability.

     -- sandro

[1] http://esw.w3.org/topic/ResponsePoint
Received on Thursday, 17 July 2003 13:45:29 UTC

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