[OpenID] What is a URL, exactly?

Joaquin Miller joaquin at netmesh.us
Mon Feb 12 22:47:21 UTC 2007

>(I'm still not sure that there exists today a standard way to 
>*resolve* an email address to a URL location, though...so calling an 
>email address a "URL" seems inaccurate).

I'm the world's backmost expert on the question: What is a URL, exactly?

So I'll just go ahead and sound off anyway, to keep the discussion rolling.

A URL is "a compact string representation for a resource available 
via the Internet [RFC 1738]."  (Yes, yes; hold your horses.)

"The term 'Uniform Resource Locator' ('URL') refers to the subset of 
URI that identify resources via a representation of their primary 
access mechanism (e.g., their network "location"), ... [RFC2396]."

The URI, 'mailto:joaquin at netmesh.us', refers to a resource, my inbox, 
via a representation of its primary access mechanism (the <some> mail 
protocol, in this case SMTP) and its network location 
(<something>.netmesh.us:<something>, in this case, 
smtp.netmesh.us:25, a.k.a.  (These details can 
be discovered, I guess, by tracking down the MX record for netmesh.us 
(or something like that).)

So:  The URI, 'mailto:joaquin at netmesh.us',  i s   a URL.

Fire away!



p.s.   I write, not as one knowledgeable of all this stuff, but as 
one claiming to be able to read what the plain English meaning of a 
specification is.

p.p.s  Of course, there is a vital difference between what the plain 
English of some specification says a URL is and what 'URL' is used to 
mean in common parlance.  We all know that.  Me, i don't know what 
'URL' means in common parlance.  No idea.  All i know is that the 
URI, 'mailto:joaquin at netmesh.us', is a URL. To any self respecting spec freak.

p.p.p.s  As you all will have read, Phil has treated this subject in 
more colorful terms.  I agree with him that it does not matter a whit 
whether 'mailto:joaquin at netmesh.us' is a URL or is not a URL.

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