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Re: Subgroup to handle semantics of HTTP etc?

From: <noah_mendelsohn@us.ibm.com>
Date: Tue, 16 Oct 2007 22:06:30 -0400
To: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Cc: Alan Ruttenberg <alanruttenberg@gmail.com>, Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>, Jonathan A Rees <jar@mumble.net>, W3C-TAG Group WG <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <OFEF1A2417.CEC193C2-ON85257377.000A73A7-85257377.000B6228@lotus.com>

Tim Berners-Lee wrote:

> We wondered whether it would be  good idea to put together some
> kind of a task force under the TAG  to propose set of these 
> axioms and an ontology.

I'm certainly willing to support at least some further exploration of 
whether this would be a good idea.

One cautionary thought occurs to me:  we've tried for some time to set out 
the semantics of HTTP more informally, in English (I.e. to further clarify 
the implications of RFC 2616).  At least we've tried to set down important 
bits of it, such as what a 303 implies, etc.  Agreement hasn't typically 
been easy.

Sometimes when one expediates the formalization of such things, it adds 
exactly the rigor (rigour?) and clarity necessary to proceed quickly and 
yield a clearer result.   Sometimes trying to formalize before one agrees 
informally makes the whole discussion that much harder and more 
cumbersome.  I really have no clear intuition as to how this one would go. 

So, I'm quite willing to try it with HTTP, but if it doesn't start to feel 
good pretty quickly, I'd be tempted to ask whether we should instead set a 
rule that we don't go too far in formalizing any bits (e.g. 303 
implications) until we can at least get heads to nod in agreement on an 
informal explanation. 


Noah Mendelsohn 
IBM Corporation
One Rogers Street
Cambridge, MA 02142
Received on Wednesday, 17 October 2007 02:05:32 UTC

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