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   Re: [xml-dev] many-to-many

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Miles Sabin wrote:
>   I think the whole
>>system, both the everyday Web and the Semantic Web, has a design
>>assumption that a URI identifies something.
> Maybe, but is that "something" a Resource in the RFC 2396 sense?

Absolutely, beyond any shadow of doubt.  2396 says a resource is 
anything that has identity.

> As far as network protocols and software are concerned, abstract 
> Resources do no work at all. What matters in a retrieval context is 
> that there be a functioning server that's capable of returning a 
> response, maybe with a response entity, maybe without.

Wrong.  The vast majority of software interactions with URIs - in 
browsers and web robots - involve no network traffic; rather the URI is 
used as a string to lookup an entry in a cache or proxy or spider state 
machine or whatever.  This is a direct function of the assumption that 
the resource is the abstract whatever identified by the URI.

> So, if there were no Resources, or more than one, or different ones on 
> different occasions, what would break? Can you name one piece of 
> working software that'd stop working if Resources were to vanish in a 
> puff of existential smoke overnight?

Well, if you talked only about URIs and representations I agree, the web 
would hold together, but it seems to me that not thinking about what 
URIs identify is an artificial constraint; sure, you can pretend not to 
know what the letters stand for in URI, but do you really feel happier 
as a result?  -Tim


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