Ramblings & ephemera

The structure & meaning of the URL as key to the Web’s success

From Clay Shirky’s “The Semantic Web, Syllogism, and Worldview“:

The systems that have succeeded at scale have made simple implementation the core virtue, up the stack from Ethernet over Token Ring to the web over gopher and WAIS. The most widely adopted digital descriptor in history, the URL, regards semantics as a side conversation between consenting adults, and makes no requirements in this regard whatsoever: sports.yahoo.com/nfl/ is a valid URL, but so is 12.0.0.1/ftrjjk.ppq. The fact that a URL itself doesn’t have to mean anything is essential — the Web succeeded in part because it does not try to make any assertions about the meaning of the documents it contained, only about their location.

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