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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