atom feed151 messages in org.w3.public-lodRe: Is 303 really necessary? (dealing...
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18 later messages
Subject:Re: Is 303 really necessary? (dealing with ambiguity)
From:Tore Eriksson (tore@po.rd.taisho.co.jp)
Date:Nov 7, 2010 11:18:21 pm
List:org.w3.public-lod

Hi David,

David Booth wrote:

There are millions of people that use URIs to identify billions of web pages, and the vast majority have never heard of RDF.

Most of these millions haven't heard of, nor care about, the HTML contained in the web page either. Thus, saying that millions of people use the URI to denote the underlying HTML document seems like a stretch of imagination.

If your toucan URI returns a 200 response just like billions of other URIs then it *does* identify a web page, even if you are also using that URI in some RDF document to identify a toucan -- a document that would just be gobbledygook to most of the world.

Reading W3 mailing lists have made me wary of words like "identify". You can get a home page by doing a HTTP GET on the URI, but the relationship to the original URI is not well defined. Why can't we just leave it like that. Use RDF for describing resources in detail.

And others may well make statements about that web page. For example, someone crawling the web may make a statement saying that <http://iandavis.com/2010/303/toucan> returned 1027 bytes in response to a GET request. They may not say it in RDF -- they might say it in XML or any other language.

As long as they they are aware that they are talking about a specific representation of this resource I can't see any problem with this. If they think they are stating something about the resource itself, well they would be wrong even if the current URI was an "information resource". They apparently need to learn more about web technology - representations, caching, con-neg, &c.

(Indeed, they may know nothing about RDF.) But they still use http://iandavis.com/2010/303/toucan to identify the web page, and no amount of RDF can change that fact. Furthermore, their statements may eventually be translated to RDF -- perhaps by someone else -- and merged with other assertions that use <http://iandavis.com/2010/303/toucan> to refer to the toucan.

OK, they might. Do you have any examples of problems with Ian's approach that are likely to happen at the moment?

So I don't think it is reasonable or realistic to think that we can *avoid* creating an ambiguity by returning additional RDF statements with the 200 response. Rather, the heuristic that you propose is a way for applications to *deal* with that ambiguity by tracking the provenance of the information: if one set of assertions was derived from an HTTP 200 response code, and another set of assertions was derived from an RDF document that you trust, then ignore the assertions that were derived from the HTTP 200 response code.

By not drawing ill-founded conclusions about the nature of the resource through the response code, ambiguity could have been avoided in the first place.

Tore rEiksson