Re: opaque locspecs

From: Peter J. Nuernberg (pnuern)
Date: Wed 28 May 1997 - 14:57:55 CDT



Randy-

You wrote:
> ... At the very least we would need to
> name different locSpec templates (or "styles") and record the template name
> with the byte blocks on the server. Then those names would need to be
> understood by potential clients.

_(fwd link)_I think this might be an issue of where this knowledge should reside, or more correctly, I guess, at what level. I think that your comment about styles (just like presentation spec styles) is exactly on target. It makes sense for us as a community _apart from the protocol discussion_ to agree to some minimal set of locspec formats and rules for extending that set. But, in terms of the protocol, I think it makes sense to just say that we are shipping something that we don't need to or want to understand.

Here is an analogy that might make my position clearer. When considering the correctness of HTML, you want to know that a "location" follows the HREF parameter in an anchor tag. You even want to know that this location is specified by a URL. However, the specification for how to build/interpret/process/etc. URL's is not part of the HTML specification. Instead, it's a separate specification to which browsers that want to function in an expected way have to subscribe.

In my opinion, locspecs and presentation specs are both analogs to URL's, while the OHP is the analog to HTML. It's something we as a group want to and need to address most probably, but I do not believe that the protocol is the place to do it.

In regard to your suggestion about names, I'm not sure how I feel about this. On the one hand, I don't feel intrinsically opposed to it, but on the other hand, one doesn't really "name" URL types from the perspective of the HTML specification. I guess I'd like to know why such a name is necessary. It's my intuition that we can dispense with the name altogether and just handle the interpretation in a "locspec specification". As with URL's, perhaps the right way to begin such a locspec spec is to say that the first few bytes (up to a delimiter) name the type of locspec and go from there. This seems to me a clearly important issue, but I'd like to keep it separate from the protocol spec.

With respect to the "single document" suggestion of Rob, perhaps we could include the first swipe at locspec formats (e.g., Sigi's proposal, et al.) as an appendix.

-Pete



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