[OpenID] What is a URL, exactly?

Gabe Wachob gabe.wachob at amsoft.net
Mon Feb 12 23:27:45 UTC 2007


            2396 is obsoleted by RFC 3986, just FYI.


            I don't use the term URL any more, and when I do, I use it only
because I'm trying to avoid the question "what is this URI thing? How is it
different a URI?" ;-) But then the smart people ask me why I said URL and
not URI and I laugh. 







From: general-bounces at openid.net [mailto:general-bounces at openid.net] On
Behalf Of Joaquin Miller
Sent: Monday, February 12, 2007 2:47 PM
To: OpenID general list
Subject: [OpenID] What is a URL, exactly?


(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>  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',
<mailto:joaquin at netmesh.us',%A0> 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
<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 <mailto:joaquin at netmesh.us> ' is a URL or is not a

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