Re: Terminology for web servers and CGI?

Subject: Re: Terminology for web servers and CGI?
From: Carl Stieren <carls -at- CYBERUS -dot- CA>
Date: Wed, 17 Mar 1999 09:16:45 -0500


In response to my earlier post, Steven J. Owens gave us an excellent precis
of research sources, a short evaluation of each one, and even some history
and origins.

I am very grateful to him for taking the time to post such a response.

One resource he mentioned, Ohio State University's RFC collection is
particularly interesting:

From the above Ohio State RFC archive, there's a particularly useful
"Internet User's Glossary" that's a good jumping-off point (it's dated,
though - 1996):

There is one point on which Steven J. Owens and I and I disagree:

> This specific question is off-topic,but I think I can make a more
> general on-topic point, so I'll reply to the whole list. The short
> version is, try to do your own homework. The web is an excellent
> resource for questions just like this, the more so because this
> question is *about* the web.

When the question is understandable terminiology in general use, the first
place I would look, but the LAST place I would use is an IETF or W3C RFC.
Such specs are like laws (bills passed by the legislature). They're
excellent prescriptive devices, but terrible descriptive ones.

While I could have done more research on this topic, I deliberately went to
TECHWR-L to see what other * technical writers * had used in their
documentation for the user - even when the user is a system administrator or
a programmer.

I've fought my way through some World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) standards
before, including Resource Description Framework (RDF) Model and Syntax
specification for XML.

I have found most industry-wide specs counter-intuitive. Now I don't know
whether this is

* necessity (the result of the complexity of the subjects), or
* intellectual snobbery (that millenia-old practice of making concepts
complex to exclude amateurs and trip up one's colleagues).

What would you call the following extract from the above-mentioned spec at other than counter-intuitive?

---------------- SNIP ---------------------------------------------------

Consider as a simple example the sentence:

Ora Lassila is the creator of the resource

This sentence has the following parts:

Subject (Resource)
Predicate (Property)
Object (literal)
"Ora Lassila"

--------------- END SNIP ------------------------------------------

From English grammar, we are taught to parse the sentence above into

Subject: "Ora Lassila"
Predicate: "is"
Object: "creator"

... the reverse of what the above spec tells us!

- Carl

Carl Stieren carls -at- cyberus -dot- ca
Technical Writer and Designer......................deep in Silicon Tundra
Ottawa, Ontario, CANADA.........................1 hr 40 min from Montreal
Carl's "Text and Subtext" Web

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