My XTech 2007 Conference Proposal

Since I spent the entire past day and well into the night working on my proposal for speaking at the XTech 2007: ‘The Ubiquitous Web’ conference, I wasn’t able to complete my promised Friday installment of the introduction. Rather than go dark on you, I decided to publish my proposal here for all to see. Let’s hope they select it!

The Ubiquitous URI: URL Design and Why it Matters

by Mike Schinkel

When Tim Berners-Lee created the web, he developed three fundamental technologies: HTML, HTTP, and the URI. To date, most people have viewed the URI as just plumbing, not to be seen by mere mortals. In this talk I aim to present the history of why, the tremendous benefits to be had from a changed view, and how attendees’ skills combined with their future actions can create incredible new value.

This talk will be given presentation style reminiscent of Lawrence Lessig; lots of slides covered quickly for 30 minutes, and then 10 minutes for questions . It intends to create awareness, not complete comprehension of all aspects covered. Resources for future research and understanding will be given as well as a call to action for participation at the end.

Attendee Benefits

The value of this session to attendees will be:

  • Appreciation of all that URLs involve and affect
  • Understand the history and technology of URIs, URLs, and URNs
  • Appreciate the real world relevance of URL design
  • Knowledge of Patterns and Best Practices
  • Learn newer and rarely known use-cases for URLs
  • A peek into the future of the URL
  • Participate in the future of URL technology, if desired

Outline of Presentation

  1. Intro – 3 minutes
    • URL Design: Why Should you Care?
    • URIs: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly
    • The URI vs. the URL vs. the URN
    • URLs are Everywhere: Make them Usable
  2. Past – 5 minutes
    • The Three Pillars of the Web: HTML, HTTP, and URI
    • It’s all Politics (and a little bit of technology)
    • The Sorry State of Affairs: Who can we blame? :-)
  3. Present – 9 minutes
    • URL Design: Who is your Constituent?
    • Technical Concerns are Secondary: URL Design’s Many Considerations
    • Attributes of a Well Designed URL
    • Resolution Matters: Why a “200 OK” is Essential
    • The URI Opacity Axiom: Separating Dogma from Fact
    • Achieving RESTfulness: URL Design’s Significance to REST
    • Mashups made Easier: RESTful URL Design
    • The Semantic Web: Dead without URL Design
    • Content Management Systems Considered Harmful: Well, not all the them
    • Untold Damaged Caused by Flash and AJAX: Resolving their Trespasses
    • Running afoul of the Law: Legal Issues with URLs
    • Principle of Minimum Constraints: Is this Contradictory?
    • Down and Dirty: Patterns and Practices
    • Case Study
  4. Future – 10 minutes
    • A subset of Web Science
    • Web 2.0 Success requires URL Design: Why?
    • Regular Expressions Too Hard: URI Templates
    • Everything important needs a URI: Defining What’s Important
    • But Mother will never understand: Stop Treating Users Like Children
    • Permalinks: The Hidden Champion
    • Fragments are your Friend: Expose them!
    • URLs and Metadata: Leveraging HTML and HTTP
    • Extending the URL: Web Requests
    • “But My App Server Can’t Do that!”: Breaking free of Platform Constraints
    • Envisioning a future where all URLs resolve: Solving Link Rot
    • The Future GUID: URL as Primary Key
  5. Summary – 3 minutes
    • Review of Key Points
    • Resources and additional references provided
    • Call to Action: The World is your Oyster, Help Make a Pearl
  6. Q&A – 10 minutes
    • Open the floor for questions

Session Outcome

At the end of session attendees should be able to:

  • Understand the basic aspects of URL design
  • Apply basic patterns and best practices
  • Seek community help for more complex URL design
  • Leverage URLs in ways they probably never considered
  • Join with others to extend URL technology

Prerequisites

Basic understanding of

  • HTTP protocol
  • HTML authoring
  • DNS and domains
  • Current events related to the web

P.S. I submitted three other proposals, but you’ll have to wait to see if they accept any of them before I can tell you about them. :)

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