Re: [webfinger] Absolute URI vs URI

"Paul E. Jones" <> Mon, 22 July 2013 14:10 UTC

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From: "Paul E. Jones" <>
To: "'Melvin Carvalho'" <>
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Subject: Re: [webfinger] Absolute URI vs URI
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It's easy enough to replace strings in URIs should data need to be ported.
I suggest we remove the word "absolute" where we currently have "absolute
URI" and then introduce a new paragraph in the terminology section as


The use of URIs throughout this document refers to URIs following the syntax
specified in Section 3 of RFC 3986.  Relative URIs, having syntax following
that of Section 4.2 or RFC 3986, are not used with WebFinger.


Is that clear?




From: Melvin Carvalho [] 
Sent: Monday, July 22, 2013 4:09 AM
To: Paul E. Jones
Cc: webfinger
Subject: Re: [webfinger] Absolute URI vs URI




On 22 July 2013 09:06, Paul E. Jones <> wrote:

In not suggesting we use or allow relative URIs. The immediate question
would be "relative to what". I think the URIs should be absolute, but not
following the syntax of "absolute-URI", but instead just following "URI".

Yes, that's a good question.  Generally relative URIs are relative to the
document, but they need not be.  For example they could be relative by
default to the [supposed] webfinger registry.  In JSON LD they have a
@context variable which allows quite a bit of flexibility in this regard.
I'm unsure if relative URIs are considered a must in standards based
serialization (I suspect not) but they have the advantage of slightly
increased data portability.





From: Melvin Carvalho <>
Sent: Mon Jul 22 02:46:25 EDT 2013

To: "Paul E. Jones" <>

Cc: webfinger <>

Subject: Re: [webfinger] Absolute URI vs URI





On 22 July 2013 07:47, Paul E. Jones <> wrote:


One of the requirements in the JRD spec is that certain URIs (e.g., those
identifying link relation types and properties) be "absolute URIs".  This
term has been a point of confusion, since RFC 3986 uses the term to have a
concrete meaning, namely this:

     absolute-URI  = scheme ":" hier-part [ "?" query ]

And the term is used, because that's the term used in the OASIS XRD
specification.  However, it was not clear to me whether that referred to the
above (which I assumed) or referred to URIs that are not relative URIs
(i.e., those lacking a scheme specified).

I had an exchange with Eran Hammer and Mark Nottingham.  I believe the
intent of that language was not to require the above constrained syntax,
but to require the standard URI syntax:

     URI = scheme ":" hier-part [ "?" query ] [ "#" fragment ]


There are many ways that people do this, see:


Given that understanding, I believe we should remove the word "absolute"
that appears in front of "URI" in the WebFinger spec.  Do others have an
opinion on this?


+1 on allowing relative URIs



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