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SIgh [was: Irony heaped on irony]

From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>
Date: Sat, 20 May 2000 19:46:58 -0400
Message-ID: <015101bfc2b5$b0d6a7b0$e9a55c8b@ridge.w3.org>
To: "James Tauber" <JTauber@bowstreet.com>, <xml-uri@w3.org>

-----Original Message-----
From: James Tauber <JTauber@bowstreet.com>
To: xml-uri@w3.org <xml-uri@w3.org>
Date: Saturday, May 20, 2000 3:35 PM
Subject: RE: Irony heaped on irony

>> > In my opinion, the best solution would be to remove the confusing
>> > http:// from the namespace name.
>> That would be a good suggestion if we didn't intend to make
>> definitive material about our schema available on demand.
>But if one did NOT intend to make such material available, would it not be
>useful for them to use a URI scheme that shared the simplicity of
>generation provided by the http scheme but without the implication of
>retrievability via HTTP?

If we could please start by defining the identifier to be a URI and if we
we need new URI spaces then defined them separately.
We have a whole lot of specs piling up waiting to be resolved. A lot of them
(some gone) depend on this being a URI.

If there seriously is only a small minority on this list who can consider
the simple basic architecturally straightforward step of making this a URI
then we have a problem.

If we just make it a real URI then so many things can go in parallel.  On
the usage side of the spec,
the XML languages can evolve. On the provider side of the URI spec,
we can have discussions about what to do about DNS and how to make
a better namespace.  But believe me, that can be a 5 year rat hole by
(Been there, done that, got the IETF T-shirts).  There is also plenty to get
straight on the XML side.  The URI spec separates them.  If you don't use
it then you lose an incredibly important flexibility point in the design.
You reduce the modularity in which the URI schemes and markup languages
are independently developed. You merge together one large debate into
another, and I know that rat hole discussions are multiplicative not
additive!  There is only one other list I have known which has had the
feel of this list, now i come to think of it and that was the URI WG.
John Klensin eventually as area director stormed in an disbanded it.

I would like to say that the statement that dereferencing the namespace URI
was "not a goal" I took on review as stating that it was not a goal of the
Namespace spec itself.  I assumed that it allowed other specs to do it.
I had no idea that the XML community would decide that in their
wisdom they would _prohibit_ other groups from doing it.  Had I realized
this, then
we might have had this discussion to great depth before, and we would
have either changed it to respect the URI as the spec intends it or we would
have based RDF at least on something clean and simple and self-referential.

The RDF group was that which was asked to use XML for consistency and
interoperability. They required every RDF property, hence every XML element,
to have a well-define identity in the URI space, which RDF could use to
hang semantic information.n Hence RDF-namespaces, which were taken
over by XML on the basis that need was general. Now we have very little
respect being paid to RDF, and an attempt by XML folks to prohibit this
Not just to not provide it, but to prohibit others from doing it.

I have been mentally making a forking tree of all the "yes but" arguments
which have been brought up.  I think in fact (thanks to John Cowan among
there have been a large number of misunderstandings corrected.   There have
some philosophical questions disposed of too.  I have no (yet?) made this
tree in a
document.  But I am out of steam for tonight.

Received on Saturday, 20 May 2000 19:45:04 UTC

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