The Case for URLs

October 18, 2008

I gave a talk on Thursday in which I tried to argue the case for why one should use URLs to name classes, properties, and instances when publishing one’s data. It was supposed to be 10-15 minutes. Honestly, my heart wasn’t really in it, my argument wasn’t very cogent, and (no one has to know this) it was presented poorly. Fundamentally, the talk was out of place at this event because it was arguing one side of a technical design choice, and this was pretty much a business strategy conference. Looking at the forty people in the audience, I saw no sign that any of them had even considered it an issue. Either it was obvious to them that using URLs like this was good and proper, or (in most cases) they didn’t even think about it being a choice.

That said, here are my slides.

(Along the way to making the case for URLs, I tried to also make the case for standards. Again, most people are probably already convinced or don’t even see any choice there. There’s certainly a choice between the de facto and de jure approaches to making standards, and in some markets a standard may never emerge without concerted effort.)

Perhaps this whole bit is best forgotten. Or maybe I’ll get inspired to make the more cogent argument in a blog post. Maybe I need to find someone to argue against, at least in my head — an imagined audience member I was trying to convince. Maybe someone from the XML-without-namespaces crowd. Or maybe I could do the technical argument for shims, slightly refactoring my xtan story.

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