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   RE: [xml-dev] URIs harmful (was RE: [xml-dev] Article: Keeping pa ce

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Been out of touch for a few days so late to this.  

Yes.  The implemented algorithm defines the semantic.

Essentially, http:// is overloaded.  It 
has a URL semantic.   By going to URIness, we 
ended up with a semantic of nameness which if taken 
as a bare name, contradicts the original semantic. 
Making it ambiguous changed nothing and added cost.

Keep this in mind:  

o  Dereferenceable means one can hand that string to the 
http method and it will make the attempt.

o  Dereferenced means it made the attempt and succeeded 
and returned a representation or failed and returned an error.

It is ALWAYS dereferenceable.  By design.  By fact 
of syntactical equivalence.  By precedence of assigning 
the semantic of resolving.

If we mean by dereferenceable "it can always be 
dereferenced but what happens next isn't guaranteed" 
we state the fact, but we have admitted that subsequent 
designs have lowered the reliability of the WWW.  

If we say "it is always dereferenceable and what happens 
next depends on the author/owner/source", we haven't 
changed anything except to say it is as reliable as 
its source.  

If we say, "sources are strongly advised 
to put something there", we have gone as far as the 
current architecture enables.  

Among those choices, it seems better to put something there:  
a document, if nothing else.  Note:  it seems better; it is a 
good practice.  Like etiquette, all may not follow 
it, but those who do get along better by being clearer 
about their intent.

On usefulness....

Like it or not, MSIE is now the test.  It is the 
standard.  I realize that inflames, but it is nonetheless 
the working fact.  I read RFPs for a living; they now 
include clauses that state "compliant with the 
Internet Explorer standard".  One can moan that 
these people don't understand standards, but in 
fact, they understand perfectly in about the same 
way as this has been understood and applied since 
the mid-90s once Mosaic was presented.  

The biggest colony wins.  That is the ultimate result of 
the *fielding* of the web.

The monkeys didn't quarrel with Darwin.  The scientists did.


From: Joe English [mailto:jenglish@flightlab.com]

> Really?  Test it.

Feh.  If what you mean by "URIs are always dereferencable"
is "you can type them at MSIE and it will do something,"
then sure, that's a true statement.  Not a very useful one,
but true.

But I think I finally see where Len is going with this.
There is an algorithm for resolving URLs; *that* is what
makes them useful.  When RDF and XMLNS play Humpty Dumpty
and insist that a URI means what they intend it to mean,
nothing more and nothing less, contrary to established
practice and common understanding, it diminishes the value
of URLs.

Am I on the right track here?


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