Just require URLs

Jonathan Borden jborden at mediaone.net
Wed Jun 2 16:52:46 BST 1999

Hunter, David wrote:

>Actually, anyone can prove almost ANY theological point by quoting
><em>sections</em> of the bible, just like anyone can prove almost any URI
>point by quoting <em>sections</em> of the RFCs.  The competent [Christian]
>theologist, however, knows the bible cover to cover, and how those distinct
>sections fit in with the whole, just like the competent URI... um...
>"discusser" knows all of the RFCs, and how each section fit in with the
>whole.  <aside>Which is why I've steered clear of the discussion.  Whoops,
>just got involved...</aside>
><apology>Sorry, I wasn't able to relate this to tea leaves.  Or to other
>religions, for that matter.  <?wink?>  </apology>

    So this analogy ought be cut off quickly lest we forget that we don't
hire theologists to design bridges in 20th century civilization. The real
argument here is whether a URI with the scheme "http" or "ftp" ought be used
to define an XML namespace. The argument has led to discussion of whether
such URIs are intended to serve as unique names aside from their intended
purpose to serve as resource locators.

    The argument is twofold:

    First, using a particular definition of "resource", a name can be termed
a locator for the "abstract resource" which is itself the name (or perhaps
namespace). A distinction is made between this use of the term "resource"
and the more common use in locating a "physical" resource such as a document
located on a network.

    Second, the definition of URI, includes the concepts of URIs used as
persistent names (e.g. "URN") as well as URIs used as resource locators
(URL). The argument has arisen about whether URLs ought be used as XML
namespace URIs and in particular whether the same URI can be used as a URL
in one place and a persistent name (I won't call this a URN due to conflicts
with 2141) in another (this would be some future as yet unspecified specs
which build upon XML namespaces). I argue that per the URI specification
(RFC2396) I see no reason why URIs which begin with particular schemes (e.g.
"http") can or ought not be used as a persistent name.

    Aside from my reading and interpretation of RFC 2396, support for this
position is in the XSL specification itself which uses URIs belonging to the
"http" scheme to define the "xsl" namespace.

    In prior posts, I;ve asked for specific practical current problems that
are created by using such URIs. The bottom line in bridge building (as
opposed to theological arguments) is the fact that the bridge stands up to
its specified weight for its specified lifespan.

Jonathan Borden

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