Tuesday, July 26, 2005


I was fumbling through some old code this evening after discovering that my original interpretaion of the slightly skewed BNF grammar used in FRC2396 was incorrect. Obviously despite creating the standard Sir Tim Burners Lee hadn't quite got the hang of hyperlinking yet, and so it is generally left up to the reader to discover the reference to RFC822 in the third paragraph of section 1.6, and hence forth seek out the correct interpretation.

Speaking of hyperlinking, i found an amusing anecdote in my comments which i thought might be worth sharing. It originates from the W3C axioms of web architecture, and pretty much states that the internet in its current form is a complete abomination.

All the same, a word of caution is appropriate about the indiscriminate or deliberately misleading abuse of the identity of the object referred to by a URI. A web server is often in a position to know a lot of context about a request. This can include for example, the person who is asking, the document they were reading last from which they followed the link. It is possible to use this information to ramatically change the content of the document referred to. This undermines the concept of identity and of reference in general. To do that without making it clear is misleading both to anyone who quotes the URI of a page or who follows the link.

Unless it is clearly indicated on the page (or using a future protocol) , to return differing information for the same URI must be considered a form of deception. It also of course messes up caches.

Reflect on this next time you create some dynamic content...