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

Re: A little courtesy, please

From: Dan Connolly <connolly@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 24 May 2000 13:32:36 -0500
Message-ID: <392C2044.DDFCDDBE@w3.org>
To: Miles Sabin <msabin@cromwellmedia.co.uk>
CC: xml-uri@w3.org
> Miles Sabin wrote:
> Dan Connolly wrote,
> > Simon St.Laurent wrote,
> > > URIs are not Platonic Forms, with austere and unchanging
> > > nature - they're useful tools treated differently in a
> > > variety of contexts.
> >
> > Right.
> >
> > Resources on the other hand, _are_ abstract things like
> > platonic forms...
> <cough/><splutter/>
> That just doesn't wash because resources are made of bits,
> which live in filesystems or memory, or get generated by
> processes running on distinctly non-abstract boxes full chips
> and stuff; and they're retrievable because bunches of bits
> can be transferred over wires.

Oops... I neglected to clarify that I was not expressing
opinion when I said "Resources [...] _are_ abstract things...".
I was paraphrasing the relevant IETF Draft Standard:

         A resource can be anything that has identity.  Familiar
         examples include an electronic document, an image, a service
         (e.g., "today's weather report for Los Angeles"), and a
         collection of other resources.  Not all resources are network
         "retrievable"; e.g., human beings, corporations, and bound
         books in a library can also be considered resources.
         The resource is the conceptual mapping to an entity or set of
         entities, not necessarily the entity which corresponds to that
         mapping at any particular instance in time.  Thus, a resource
         can remain constant even when its content---the entities to
         which it currently corresponds---changes over time, provided
         that the conceptual mapping is not changed in the process."

	-- http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2396.txt

Omitting references always costs...

> Granted a resource can _represent_ something abstract. But if
> you can't tell the difference between a representation and the
> thing it represents then you're in trouble.

Quite. An entity (body) is a representation, and a resource
is the thing it represents.

     A network data object or service that can be identified by a URI,
     defined in section 3.2. Resources may be available in multiple
     representations (e.g. multiple languages, data formats, size, and
     resolutions) or vary in other ways. 
     The information transferred as the payload of a request or
     response. An entity consists of metainformation in the form of
     entity-header fields and content in the form of an entity-body, as
     described in section 7. "
	-- http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2616.txt
	aka http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec1.html#sec1.4

Dan Connolly, W3C http://www.w3.org/People/Connolly/
Received on Wednesday, 24 May 2000 14:33:08 UTC

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