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On Thu, 30 Jan 2003 06:11:12 -0800, Paul Prescod <email@example.com> wrote:
> If we can't agree that pervasive use of URIs is a defining characteristic
> of the Web as we know it, then I really can't imagine how we have the
> building blocks for any meaningful conversation at all!
Sure, no dispute there. The open question for me is whether "the Web as we
know it" proves the concept of URL's that *locate* something or other to be
determined by all sorts of context, MIME types, ad hoc conventions and out
of band agreements ... or whether it proves the concept of URIs that
*identify* abstract resources with representations. The former is much
less general and abstract than the latter, and I'm skeptical of the
argument that the success of the less general form proves the validity of
the more general form.
> In any particular case there would obviously be some conflating factor
> that could be argued was the "real" reason that the particular site took
> off. But let's do a thought experiment. Let's say that there are two
> Googles on the Web: Google and Giggle. They have the same algorithms and
> basic techniques. But one of them uses a resource-centric view where
> everything has a link. This means that news sites and blogs can link to
> Google caches and Google searches.
"everything has a link" doesn't equate to "has an abstract identity
specified by a URI". Or more to the point, Google as we know and love it
would work just as well if links were just plain ordinary URLs rather than
nice abstract URIs. This get's back to Miles Sabin's "what would break if
we stopped thinking about abstract resources?" question.
> The other does not expose these resources as URIs. This means that news
> sites and blogs must instead describe the steps required to force the
> POST-based interface to get to the right information. Which service will
Nothing I've said in this thread says anything about the GET vs POST
debate. I tend to agree with you (and the TAG) on this point. The sad fact
is that Google used POST in their SOAP API, and there are essentially no
implementations of the SOAP 1.2 GET binding out there to see if this is
going to actually "win" in the real world. I assume that it will, but I
can't on one hand argue "trust in what actually works" and then argue
"except for the GET binding, it WILL work, trust me." :-)
> Does RSS count as human readable content? Even if it is routed and
> filtered through a variety of automated processes before a human sees it?
Yes, AFAIK RSS has mostly human-readable semantic content (as generally
deployed in the real world). Sure it's routed and filtered, but I'll guess
that's because of its very limited syntax rather than any machine-
processable semantics. Again, I expect that RSS (like Google) will
eventually be a "win" for the REST approach, but it's hard to demonstrate
that from current practice.
More to the point, I suspect, I'm unwilling to extrapolate from Google and
RSS to applications where machine processing is much more important, e.g.
automated order submission, bill payment, etc. In such cases I suspect
that the "contract" between the producing and consuming programs about the
syntax and semantics of the data being exchanged is much more important
than the architectural style of the communication (POST vs GET/PUT/DELETE)