Re: revised "generic syntax" internet draft

Jon Knight <> Wed, 16 April 1997 11:09 UTC

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Date: Wed, 16 Apr 1997 11:20:06 +0100
From: Jon Knight <>
To: Edward Cherlin <>
Subject: Re: revised "generic syntax" internet draft
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On Tue, 15 Apr 1997, Edward Cherlin wrote:
> >Proposal 1a: Do not allow such characters, since the URL is an address
> >             and not a user-friendly string.  Obviously, this solution
> >             causes non-Latin character users to suffer more than people
> >             who normally use Latin characters, but is known to interoperate
> >             on all Internet systems.
> Impractical. We do agree an this, don't we?

Weren't URL's originally designed to have an _opaque_ part?  In which case
just ASCII is fine as its not intended to give meaning (the fact that alot
people (including me) do put meaningful ASCII text in there is a result of
most of web is still using file system based web servers.  The meaningful
name is the only way of the information provider locally naming the
document so that they can remember what it contains.  If you see stuff
coming from a web server that fronts a database you quite often just get
random looking strings of ASCII characters that only mean something to the
server as the information providers have other means to name and locate
the resources locally). IMHO the push for I18N should be in Uniform
Resource *Names*, not URLs, so that the broken "put meaning in an address"
paradigm isn't perpetuated even further than it currently is.

> I assume that no Webmaster will deliberately set up a CGI script for UTF-8
> without knowing whether the server can handle it. He can provide a Java
> applet to any browser that doesn't know what to do. So who has the problem?

How about those of us using non-Java, non-UTF-8 aware browsers (lynx for
example)?  Or that have Java disabled by the systems administrator for
security reasons?

Tatty bye,


Jon "Jim'll" Knight, Researcher, Sysop and General Dogsbody, Dept. Computer
Studies, Loughborough University of Technology, Leics., ENGLAND.  LE11 3TU.
* I've found I now dream in Perl.  More worryingly, I enjoy those dreams. *