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

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> Amy Lewis wrote:
> > Which is to say, I don't think it's really an issue of coupling, but
> > an issue of ambiguity, as Simon (and Len) originally suggested. 
> > Using a form (syntax) that carries extremely heavy connotations of an
> > associated semantic, and violating that semantic (here I'm not
> > speaking of the location algorithm, but of case-sensitivity,
> > encoding, and resolution only, mind), is just guaranteed to produce
> > confusion.  Witness the 3000-message thread that Just Won't Die (and
> > TBL reopened it with a suggestion that "relative URIs", an utterly
> > *meaningless* concept when namespace names have been divorced from
> > URI semantic (say "relative string" and "absolute string" and see
> > what meaning you can discover), are not all that bad after all ...
> > *sigh*).
> That's an excellent summary of what concerns me in the W3C's use of
> URIs.

Ah.  Here's you've made an important clarification, Simon.  Expressed this 
way, I agre with you that the W3C's use of URI has sown confusion.  Hpwever, I 
sympathize with the various WGs involved: it is a tremendously hard set of 
problems that they have taken up URIs to solve, and I don't think any body 
could get such things uniformly right.

This is why I argue for *less* specification and oversight over the use of 
URIs, not more.

For instance, I think the proscription against relative URIs in namespaces was 
a bad idea.  Not because using relative URIs are a good idea (I'm not getting 
sucked into that one), but because it was adding a puzzling level of 
stringency to a namespace spec that had already tried to stay at arms length 
from URIs.  I would argue, as John Cowan posted, that namespaces should be 
stated as a string with the syntax of URI reference.  This would reduce the 
regulation further (and have the effect of nullifying the "namespaces must be 
absolute fiat").

> I'm well aware of the difference between signified and signifier, and
> appreciate that the looseness of the connection between them.  At the
> same time, however, I recognize that reusing signifiers (or simply the
> syntax used by a particular class of signifier) brings with it seemingly
> infinite potential for confusion.

I would argue that since signifiers in re already bring an infinite potential 
for confusion, that adding another infinite potential has no discernable 

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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