There are two reasons I'm not going to get into the dogma debate that Jonathan Marsh recently started ("Does your dogma fit on the side of a bus?"): (1) one person's dogma is another person's self-evident truths (as in "we hold these truths to be self-evident"); and (2) there's always dogma on both sides of the argument.
What I am going to get into is whether people who design representations to be returned by web resources should emphasize the use of URIs within those representations. Here is what I said, and what Jonathan said in response:
Nowhere in the vast multitude of WS-* specifications or the articles or papers describing them is there any imperative or even any emphasis that a Web Service should return an XML document that is populated references to other Web resources, ie URIs. But it is a fundamental principle of the Web that good Web resources don't "dead end" the Web; instead, they return representations filled with URIs that link to other Web resources.
First of all, I'm wary of even dignifying this so-called "principle" with that label.
I'm not going to argue whether the principle is a good one, because I'd probably end up being called dogmatic again. [joke] Instead, I just want to clearly establish that use URIs in representations is a core principle of the web. To do so, I'll simply cite a few passages from the Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One.
A defining characteristic of the Web is that it allows embedded references to other resources via URIs.
I suppose I could stop there. But just to be sure I get the point across, I'll continue.
Formats that allow content authors to use URIs instead of local identifiers promote the network effect: the value of these formats grows with the size of the deployed Web.
A specification SHOULD allow Web-wide linking, not just internal document linking.
For resources that are generated on demand, machine generation of URIs is common. For resources that might usefully be bookmarked for later perusal, or shared with others, server managers should avoid needlessly restricting the reusability of such URIs.
I don't mind having a healthy debate about the pros and cons of weakening or strengthening the key architectural principles of the Web in order to better support A2A interaction, but I do feel dismayed when someone of Jonathan's caliber is wary of even dignifying this so-called "principle" with that label. Given the above quotes, how can anyone question whether use URIs in representations is a core principle of the Web?
I think our daily use of the term "Web" has caused many of us to forget that it is a web of something. Just as a spider's web is a web of spider-silk strands, the World Wide Web is a web of URIs (a defining characteristic of the Web is that it allows embedded references to other resources via URIs). How can it continue to grow as a web of URIs unless new representations are filled with them?