Re: Historical - Re: Proposed IETF/W3C task force: "Resource meaning" Review of new HTTPbis text for 303 See Other

On Mon, Aug 3, 2009 at 9:50 PM, Karl Dubost<> wrote:
> Le 2 août 2009 à 15:48, Tim Berners-Lee a écrit :
>> On 2009-08 -02, at 07:04, Alan Ruttenberg wrote:
>>> If you were to go in that direction, I think you ought to consider
>>> adding "Service" as a third category. Thing at the top, with the
>>> children document and service disjoint (not a complete partition,
>>> obviously).
> […]
>> Yes, I agree adding Service would help relieve some confusion. I
>> deliberately avoided it in the short history. There is a use in some ways
>> for an ontology which ignores POST services completely, as many systems are
>> just buil;t by making webs.
> This gives me the feeling of  the tree hidding the forest. HTTP gives a very
> simple set of words (GET, PUT, POST, DELETE, …) to deal with an information
> space. These words are being abused in many ways. (Julia Kristeva, poetic
> language and intertextuality?)
> Basically we are adding a layer of meaning by fragmenting a generic meaning:
> From "Resource" to "Document, Thing and Service". It seems like going from
> abstract to more defined material things. This might help momentarily but
> will just push the limit to the next iteration of "abuse", the next layer of
> fragmentation.

We call this "categorization". It doesn't fragment, it organizes. With
the organization come benefits: predictability, auditability,
understandability. Whereas we have at the beginning "anything is
possible in all cases" (which we know isn't really true - we recognize
brokenness on the web all the time) with this sort of categorization
we can start to articulate why some things work as expected and other
things don't.

The web verbs you mention each made sense for particular sorts of
things when they were first thought of. As the web has evolved, the
scope of things to which they can (according to specification) applied
has grown, and with this growth there have become too many cases where
they don't make sense. If a HTTP URI can denote a person, then what is
the verb DELETE supposed to do?

There are a number of possible paths, as I see it:

 - Let the verbs be used however anyone wants to and have them lose
any distinct meaning. As an example of the sort of direction this
leads us in is one of the ways AWWSW tried to make sense of
Information Resource, by calling it a "200 responder".  Circular, and
not very informative.
 - Restrict the scope of things HTTP URIs can refer to, paring the
possibilities to those sorts of things conceived of when HTTP was
first created.  I get the sense that some in this forum would have it
that way, but the direction the Semantic Web is going says otherwise.
 - Start introducing some distinctions into the specifications and
therefore letting there be room again for the verbs to retain some
meaning, albeit by perhaps saying that some of them can't be said
about various sort of things, and that they may mean different things
when applied to different sorts of things.


> --
> Karl Dubost
> Montréal, QC, Canada

Received on Tuesday, 4 August 2009 04:58:29 UTC