Re: Usenet news and WWW

Dan Connolly (
Fri, 15 Jan 93 22:47:39 CST

>I am a latecomer, so forgive me if this is naive or old hat.

Nope. Your points are well made. I agree, mostly.

>Clearly the authors of WWW think news is important because WWW has
>nice capabilities for accessing NNTP servers. What, then, is the
>motivation for HTTP as opposed to, say, using news with HTML article

I thought NNTP could replace HTTP wholesale too. The irreconcilable
difference between a news article and a WWW node is that a WWW node
is editable. It may change over time. [I don't like this strateby,
bit that's what's in practice.]

Thus you have the question of versions, locking, the "home address"
of a document, etc.

Perhaps we could model WWW nodes as sets of articles -- a thread,
for example, so that each time you edit a node, you generate a
new ID.

The problem then is, what do you use for the name of the thing?
(for linking purposes, that is.)

Besides all that, WWW uses addresses -- article lodators, rather
than article identifiers. A WWW client has no /usr/spool/news
database to consult to get all its stuff. It can look at
ftp sites, gopher hosts, etc.

If URN's ever come to town and all the stuff on all those servers
share a namespace like the usenet message-id namespace, then
we may have a chance to play the game that way.

But in the mean time, there are several factors that motivate HTTP.

I certainly agree HTTP should look a _lot_ like NNTP.