Hugh Winkler holding forth on computing and the Web

Thursday, March 16, 2006

URIs are opaque, except when they're not

Roy jumps in to clarify the law about URI opaqueness:

The key is that the server is free to tell the client that there does exist structure in a given URI-space, and then the client is free to make use of that knowledge in future requests. That is how server-side imagemaps worked -- HTML says that the URI is structured such that appending "?X,Y" to that URI, where X and Y are non-negative integers, corresponds to points on a map that can respond to future GET requests.

Thus, one way for the server to tell the client that a given URI is structured is to provide the URI in a standard element of a standard media type that has been defined as such. Another is to include the URI in a response header field.

I may be having my own, belated moment of total, violent, zen clarity.

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