W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > xml-uri@w3.org > May 2000

Re: Are *relative* URIs as namespace nemes considered harmful?

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 17 May 2000 02:45:51 -0400
Message-ID: <000401bfbfd4$b5e7e9f0$dde7adc1@ridge.w3.org>
To: "John Cowan" <jcowan@reutershealth.com>, "Simon St.Laurent" <simonstl@simonstl.com>, <xml-uri@w3.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: John Cowan <jcowan@reutershealth.com>
To: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>; xml-uri@w3.org
Date: Tuesday, May 16, 2000 4:00 PM
Subject: Re: Are *relative* URIs as namespace nemes considered harmful?

>"Simon St.Laurent" wrote:
>> >Should
>> >we stick to our commitments, or say that they were in error because
>> >in conflict with our basic vision?
>> It's not been made clear here what precisely those 'commitments' were, or
>> what the basic vision is.
>The "commitment" is that when the W3C said in its Namespaces Rec that
>matching was strictly char-by-char, they meant it, and people are
>entitled to create documents that rely on it.

When I read the spec I hadn't realised the degree of conflict with the other
thre that the string was a URI reference.

>The "vision" is that everything on the Web, including namespaces, is named
by URIs,
>and that the same rules for URI-reference interpretation apply to all


>The root of the trouble, IMHO, is that the problem is essentially
>moral/aesthetic, not technical at all.

If you mean moral in the sense of should we do the right thing even if it
costs us some toild, then I suppose it is.  If you mean aesthtic in hte
sense of having little practical use, then I would dispute that.
I thinlk that, while there is better simplicity and consistency about
it right, I know now  pieces of design which will either break - or
will simply disobey the rules and ignore formal well-formedness
in the need to treat namespaces as URIs.

Using URIs gives namespaces incredible leverage.
Firstly, for each URI scheme, the questions of identify properties which
become ratholes here have been explored in great depth. You have a
rich choice of schemes to chose from for identifying namespaces.
Secondly, a namespace becomes something which an be connected
to other designs.  We will want to link to them, comment on them,
state assertions about them, maybe also intellectual property rights,
compatability information, and so on and so on.  Using URIs
allows namespaces to gain from all that work, allowing the power
of hte web technology to grow in a multiplicative rather than
additive way.   This is not just for the semantic web ideas
but for the web in general.

>Schlingt dreifach einen Kreis um dies! || John Cowan
>Schliesst euer Aug vor heiliger Schau,  || http://www.reutershealth.com
>Denn er genoss vom Honig-Tau,           || http://www.ccil.org/~cowan
>Und trank die Milch vom Paradies.            -- Coleridge (tr. Politzer)
Received on Wednesday, 17 May 2000 03:49:33 UTC

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