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[protege-discussion] uri, frames, owl or not

Thomas Russ tar at
Tue Aug 3 10:19:00 PDT 2010

On Aug 2, 2010, at 9:55 PM, Ed - 0x1b, Inc. wrote:

> yes, the tradition of using only the forward slash (even for windows
> file locations) pops up from time to time and can be confusing. I have
> not noticed a pattern among the various projects, but I suspect there
> is a library that enforces this counter-intuitive/simplified file
> designation.
> Does anyone know what drives this odd formatting? expat maybe?

Well, the specific technical answer to this is that the URL standard  
(IETF RFC 1738) defines what the legal syntax is for URLs.  And that  
standard adopted the universal convention that the directory separator  
character in paths would be "/".


    'Some URL schemes (such as the ftp, http, and file schemes)
     contain names that can be considered hierarchical; the
     components of the hierarchy are separated by "/".'

As to why that was chosen, the RFC is silent.  I would speculate that  
there was a desire to have a uniform path syntax across different  
types of URLs and that the forward slash was chosen.  This may be  
because of some Unix influence on the syntax of HTTP URLs.  And it was  
undoubtedly felt that preserving uniformity in the path representation  
was preferable to having the path syntax be idiosyncratic by file  
system.  At least with a common syntax, it becomes possible to parse  
the URLs without requiring detailed knowledge of the rules of all of  
the file systems that one might encounter.  This makes the URLs a bit  
more "universal", even if a file URL will really only work if the  
directory structure happens to coincide.

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