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Subject: Re: FPI to URI Mapping [was: Re: HTML 3 DTD?]
From: lilley <[log in to unmask]>
Reply-To:[log in to unmask]
Date:Tue, 2 Jan 96 14:43:07 EST
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Murray M. Altheim wrote: 
> Ron Daniel <[log in to unmask]> wrote:
> >On Jan 1,  2:29pm, Keith M. Corbett wrote:
> >> Ron, at 12:51 PM 12/21/95 EST you wrote:
> >> >[...] FPIs are one naming system that I would like to
> >> >see handled as URNs. According to our current compromise,
> >> >such a thing might look like
> >> >    "urn:FPI:-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN"
> >> >so references to them would most likely look like
> >> >   <!doctype HTML system "urn:FPI:-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">
> >>
> >> Looking back at this message it struck me, perhaps you favor using system
> >> identifiers directly to work URNs into document type declarations...?  Or
> >> maybe this was just a "quick and dirty" example?
> >
> >I *would* like to be able to use URIs as system identifiers, but the example
> >above using FPIs is somewhat unfortunate. 

I agree, perhaps not for the same reasons though. I reckon that should be

<!doctype HTML public "urn:FPI:-//IETF//DTD HTML 2.0//EN">

If a publically available DTD exists (ie is on the Web, so anyone can get it)
*plus* there is a URN for it (so the document instance can be confidently 
parsed in a year or 5 or 20 and the DTD still accessible) then surely this 
counts as a formal public identifier?

Indeed, possibly the first real "public" identifier; referring to an 
ISO standard or whatever is fine for permanance but not much use 
for automatic access. URLs (which have been proposed in the past)
are (usually) fine for access but poor for permanance. URNs allow 
duplication on multiple sites so the DTD can be retrieved from the 
quickest site. They provide a permanent reference even as the actual 
URLs they map to at any particular time change. Perfect. Well, pretty 
good, anyway.

> James Thurber showed me the
> >error of my ways when he suggested that we leave FPIs as FPIs and
> >let a smart entity manager translate them to URIs and try to resolve them
> >over the net if they didn't already know what the thing was.

That sounds backwards. If the entity manager know what the thing is, 
likely to have the DTD cached somewhere. If it doesn't, how is it 
supposed to get the DTD? Use Lycos? 

> >His approach
> >has the nice property of not breaking a few hundred million
> >documents.

Well, perhaps the SGML standard could have an ammendment published which 
introduces the concept of the Internet.


(Murray)> 
> Not to sound like I'm slamming you Ron, but this was precisely my protest
> in using embedded locations in DOCTYPE. The purpose of DOCTYPE is to
> declare a DTD, not the location of the DTD.
> Embedding the location,
> especially one as transient as a URL, in a document seems to ignore the
> existence of public identifiers. If one were operating entirely locally,
> this would make some sense, but not over the Web
 
The big thing about a URN is of course that it does *not* specify the 
location, just the name. Murray, you know that, so I guess you mis-read 
URN as URL. Backtrack and re-parse ;-) 

-- 
Chris Lilley, Technical Author and JISC representative to W3C 
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