Overloaded URIs (was Re: XLink: behavior must go!)

Paul Prescod paul at prescod.net
Sun Jun 13 06:04:44 BST 1999

Chris Lilley wrote:
> Paul Prescod wrote:
> >
> > Chris Lilley wrote:
> > >
> > > > It strikes me as clearly poor design to use an HTTP url for something not
> > > > retrievable by the HTTP protocol.
> > >
> > > It would be, but no such examples were given.
> >
> > The XSL namespace is:
> >
> > http://www.w3.org/XSL/Transform/1.0
> >
> > Is someone going to put something retrievable there?
> Why should something retrievable be put there? It functions just fine as
> a unique name without having to retrieve anything.

That's all very well and good but nameespace URIs are URIs *first* and (by
definition) and whatever the namespace spec says they are ("globally
unique name prefixes") second. According to the transcript above, you and
I agree that HTTP URIs should not be used unless there is something
retrievable by the HTTP protocol. That strikes me as common sense but can
also be backed up by the relevant RFCs. (I'd rather not start the
conversation again here...) URI must have a resource (even the null set)
in order to be a URI. The 404 message is issued when there is no resource
by a given name. Therefore the W3C's web server contradicts the
recommendations of the (e.g.) XSLT specification.

 Paul Prescod  - ISOGEN Consulting Engineer speaking for only himself

"Silence," wrote Melville, "is the only Voice of God." The assertion,
like its subject, cuts both ways, negating and affirming, implying both
absence and presence, offering us a choice; it's a line that the Society
of American Atheists could put on its letterhead and the Society of
Friends could silently endorse while waiting to be moved by the spirit
to speak. - Listening for Silence by Mark Slouka, Apr. 1999, Harper's

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