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Re: Fragment Identifiers and Agent Perspectives

From: Manu Sporny <msporny@digitalbazaar.com>
Date: Mon, 10 Oct 2011 22:44:37 -0400
Message-ID: <4E93AD95.2040903@digitalbazaar.com>
To: www-tag@w3.org
On 10/10/2011 05:35 PM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> On Oct 8, 2011, at 9:55 PM, Manu Sporny wrote:
>>> 1. In browsers without Javascript frag ids identify a place in a document.
>>> 2. In browsers with Javascript and for media types that support active content,
>>> frag ids may also be used to pass parameters to the Javascript
>>> 3. For Semantic agents frag ids may also be used to identify a concept in a document
>> That is correct.
>> So, that is the edit that will need to be made to RFC 3986.
> I do not see that happening.  There is nothing in your discussion
> that wasn't already discussed during the development of 3986,

I'm sure it was discussed during the development of 3986, however, the 
wisdom extracted from that discussion didn't make it into the spec in a 
way that is apparent by someone versed in the art of reading 
specifications. Perhaps I'm dense, but I don't know how to get to what I 
proposed from what is currently written in 3986, Section 3.5. Could you 
please cite the text that you believe explains what some of the usage 
intents of fragment identifiers are? Or cite the e-mail where this 
proposal was made previously?

> nor does the standard need to be changed to support how a given type
> of user agent might use identifiers.

Not "support" - the spec already /supports/ doing most anything that you 
want to do with fragment identifiers. However, it doesn't explain this 
idea of agent perspective wrt. fragment identifiers... at least as far 
as I can tell from reading the spec (and I've read it many times over, 
including just 5 minutes ago).

The section on fragment identifiers is vague wrt this topic, IMHO.

So, while you may not think there is an issue, I do. The number of times 
I've been asked to explain this over the past three years tells me that 
there is a problem. The fact that the TAG is split on this issue tells 
me that there is a problem. So, while RFC 3986 could continue to not 
take responsibility for this vagueness and push the responsibility off 
onto another specification, the problem remains - there are differing 
opinions on how to interpret an IRI fragment and what it means when used 
with various Web agents.

> What you presume about RDF
> is no more universal than what you presume about HTML -- in both
> cases, *people* use fragment identifiers to identify what they
> want identified.

Sure... but there are best practices emerging. It would be nice to point 
out a few of those /somewhere/. Ideally, in the specification that talks 
about fragment identifier use.

> The media type in that
> instance is text/html, and absolutely nothing prevents it from
> using fragments to identify concepts.  In short, the existing text
> in 3986 is correct.

I respectfully disagree. The existing text in 3986 on this particular 
topic is vague.

-- manu

Manu Sporny (skype: msporny, twitter: manusporny)
Founder/CEO - Digital Bazaar, Inc.
blog: Standardizing Payment Links - Why Online Tipping has Failed
Received on Tuesday, 11 October 2011 02:45:07 UTC

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