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   Re: [xml-dev] URIs harmful (was RE: [xml-dev] Article: Keeping pace with

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> Len Bullard wrote:
> > If you believe that, then you haven't been paying 
> > attention.  This issue is the black hole of WWW 
> > architecture.
> Hey, for once I get to agree with Len!
> At this point, I start to doubt the value of specifications when they
> use URIs rather than URLs.  The Identification/Location mess has been
> swirling for years, despite the claims of those on the Identification
> that everything's just dandy.
> Namespaces are probably the worst place where this pollyanna attitude
> has smacked XML, but their progeny, QNames, offer their own set of
> problems.
> URI usage is a serious red flag on specs for me, one of the first signs
> I use to figure out where something is amiss.  The philosophy behind
> URIs seems designed to ward off questions rather than promote
> interoperability, which strikes me very strange for a technology
> reportedly intended to be at the heart of Web infrastructure.
> If the W3C wants to sort out Web architecture, a cold hard look at URIs
> would be the first target I'd recommend.  That seems pretty unlikely
> overall, since URI supporters generally refuse to acknowledge that
> problems beyond misunderstandings exist at all.
> God knows I'm tired of talking about this stuff, but it never seems
> likely to be resolved.

<warning>The following is a disreputable late Friday ramble</warning>

URIs are every bit as harmful as names.  And names are indeed very harmful.  
Of course I bring a particular ethnic sensibility to the numen of names, but I 
think that even the Western philosophical canon bears out what less sophist 
cultures insist on more directly :-)

In orther words, I don't see any particular evil in URIs.  They are just one 
form of the most important problem in conscious thought.  And if the problem 
were ever "solved", I think we'd follow it into the void.

The harm of URIs is rather well contained when we apply to them the same 
attitude the loosely-coupled clique applies to XML itself.  Let each person 
use them as he pleases and don't try any overarching design of URIs.  The key 
is in loose coupling between signifier and signified, and between the agent 
granting the name and the agent using the name.  Tight coupling between 
signifier and signified is one of my quarrels with Topic Maps.  Tight coupling 
between the granter and the receiver of the name is one of the reasons I'd 
rather the W3C and others didn't address URI issues by fiat, even to squash 
3000-message threads.

Uche Ogbuji                                    Fourthought, Inc.
http://uche.ogbuji.net    http://4Suite.org    http://fourthought.com
Track chair, XML/Web Services One Boston: http://www.xmlconference.com/
The many heads of XML modeling - http://adtmag.com/article.asp?id=6393
Will XML live up to its promise? - http://www-106.ibm.com/developerworks/xml/li


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