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Just going for a Slash

pierre_pierre
Grafter
Posts: 19,757
Registered: 30-07-2007

Just going for a Slash

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/technology/8306631.stm
Berners-Lee 'sorry' for slashes
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Community Veteran
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Registered: 01-08-2007

Re: Just going for a Slash

Interesting. You have to wonder why he did it in the first place at all really.
Why ot just something like protocol:address:port ?
We don't use ://8080 in urls for port 8080 do we!
The daft thing is that even now.. 30 years later the double slashes could still be done away with. I don't see why they're kept for historical reasons to be honest.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
Community Gaffer
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Re: Just going for a Slash

Loving the quote Grin
[quote author="Tim Berners-Lee"]There you go, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

Bob Pullen
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Community Veteran
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Re: Just going for a Slash

lol yup.
What I don't understand is if he now realises what a pain it is, why doesn't he change the appropriate RFC to deprecate the slashes.
I need a new signature... i'm bored of the old one!
pierre_pierre
Grafter
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Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Just going for a Slash

well in most cases you can leave out http://
Community Veteran
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Re: Just going for a Slash

No body puts the `www` at the start or the `.` at the end of the address as in http://plus.net.
kmilburn
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Re: Just going for a Slash

the http:// is somewhat optional only because the web browser adds it itself if no other protocol was specified.
As for web sites with the www prefix,  thats largely a legacy issue,  and I wish more companies would register addresses without it.
Other prefixes still server a useful purpose for figuring out how to talk to the server and it's common to prefix the domain to identify the servers job.
alanb
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Posts: 459
Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: Just going for a Slash

I'm not sure what to make of this article. Unfortunately the version in the Times isn't any clearer. It seems that the author doesn't understand the subject and may be putting words into TBL's mouth.
The double slash allows for the possibility that the protocol identifier to the left of the double slash may at some point in the future contain single slashes, just the like the name part on the right hand side does now. If this does happen, then the double slashes will allow the computer systems to unambiguously separate the protocol part from the name part in a URL or URN.
As far as I know, no standard protocol identifers containing single slashes have been defined yet. Therefore, strictly speaking the double slash is redundant at present, (perhaps this is what TBL was alluding to,) though that does not necessarily mean that the capability to support more complex protocol identifiers is, given that URLs and URNs are used for much more than just identifying web pages.
In any case, it shouldn't be a problem. Users shouldn't ever need to type 'http://', as indicated above, a good browser should allow users to omit the protocol part when typing in the address, and prepend a default 'http://' before sending the address off to the internet for resolution. There's no need to change any RFCs for software authors to do this.
Community Veteran
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Registered: 11-08-2007

Re: Just going for a Slash

even easier is to put enter a term into the search box as that nearly always returns what i want in the first three links offered.  i then click on a link.
scootie
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Re: Just going for a Slash

same here a quick google normal gives me what i want by typing very little of the address or just type it in the address bar with out the http or www. so to behonest i dont see the problem with the // theses days
alanb
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Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: Just going for a Slash

Having thought about this properly now, I understand why I think this news article is confusing.
The author is getting mixed up about two different but related issues: ergonomic browser design, versus the standard protocols for identifying and retrieving resources on other computers. The double backslash is a necessary and desirable part of the protocols and irrelevant (most of the time) for browsers. I can't believe that TBL would have confused these two issues.
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Re: Just going for a Slash

Quote from: ASBO
same here a quick google normal gives me what i want by typing very little of the address or just type it in the address bar with out the http or www. so to behonest i dont see the problem with the // theses days

If a web address ends in .com, you can even omit that too in the browsers I've tried... so, for example, to get to http://www.microsoft.com all you'd literally need to enter would be 'microsoft'.
jmd
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Re: Just going for a Slash

Well, I thought at first that this was going to be about something else when I read the title of thread..................................................... Roll eyes
Anyhow, I usually put www before everything - never think about http.
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Re: Just going for a Slash

Quote from: alanb
The double slash allows for the possibility that the protocol identifier to the left of the double slash may at some point in the future contain single slashes, just the like the name part on the right hand side does now. If this does happen, then the double slashes will allow the computer systems to unambiguously separate the protocol part from the name part in a URL or URN.
As far as I know, no standard protocol identifers containing single slashes have been defined yet. Therefore, strictly speaking the double slash is redundant at present, (perhaps this is what TBL was alluding to,) though that does not necessarily mean that the capability to support more complex protocol identifiers is, given that URLs and URNs are used for much more than just identifying web pages.

But thats just the point! You can still obtain the protocol using protocol:server:port/therest anyway. Why do you honestly need // instead of just a colon? Even TBL has admitted that it isn't really needed - You can't argue with that as he's the father of the damned thing!
Redundant or not, even in the future there is still no need for it. I'm sure in 20 years from now and even in 50, they'll still know how to tell the difference without // being there. Even if they can't, I'm pretty sure :: would have done the job just as well!
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alanb
Grafter
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Registered: 24-05-2007

Re: Just going for a Slash

No it's not the point. The point is there is an ergonomic and usability issue with browsing which should not be fixed by changing the standards for communications protocols and potentially beaking them in the future.
Using a double colon as an alternative to the double slash could work, but why would it be any better or less confusing than the slashes. The double slash is consistent with other URIs that were used for other purposes at the time, and presumably TBL wanted keep things as standard as possible, since computer systems work better and last longer when they implemented to common standards. But, really, users shouldn't have to even type this protocol stuff into the address bar on their browsers unless they are doing something a little out of the ordinary. Fully defined URL strings should have remained under the covers and been used solely for computer to computer communication where it's not an issue if a delimiter is 2 slashes or 20 slashes. (Which appears to be what happens these days going by what most of the posters in this thread have written.)
Also bear in mind that the format of a HTTP URL is a subset of a standard that is used for other purposes (the ftp, news, file, mailto, nntp protocols for example, or hierarchical namespaces in XML as a URN example). So whether the double slash delimeter is needed, or not, depends on what is done or may be needed in the future for applications other than the web. Of course, the web could have a separate bunch of standards, but that sort of defeats the point of standardisation.