Boost logo

Boost :

From: Andrey Semashev (andrey.semashev_at_[hidden])
Date: 2020-01-21 20:27:14

On 2020-01-21 22:59, Vinnie Falco wrote:
> On Tue, Jan 21, 2020 at 10:41 AM Andrey Semashev via Boost
> <boost_at_[hidden]> wrote:
>> There is a semantic difference between URI and URL - the former is an
>> identifier and the latter is a locator (i.e. a path to a resource
>> location). You can treat locator as an identifier but not the other way
>> around. Using the term URL to refer to an URI is confusing.
> Having both terms is confusing, and WhatWG got this right. The vast
> majority of users just want to "parse a URL", for example one that
> comes in from an HTTP request, or one that is specified on the command
> line. When they go into Google, they type "URL" they don't type "URI."
> Hardly anyone knows what a URI is. But even my mother who is 90 knows
> what a URL is.
> I want my libraries to be popular and have mass appeal, not just
> satisfy a niche audience of super-experts. When I type "URI" into
> Google I get:
> About 287,000,000 results (0.87 seconds)
> The University of Rhode Island (top result)
> People Also Ask:
> What is difference URL and URI?
> While they are used interchangeably, there are some subtle differences...
> Now if I type "URL" into Google, I get:
> About 12,620,000,000 results (0.50 seconds)
> › wiki › URL
> URL - Wikipedia (top result)
> People Also Ask:
> What is the URL?
> What is an example of a URL address?
> How do I find URL?
> What is the path in the URL?
> What is URL on my phone?
> What does WWW stand for?
> Yes, not only is "URL" 44 times more popular than "URI" in terms of
> search results, but the top question about "URI" is "What is
> difference URL and URI?". While for "URL" no one is asking about the
> difference.

You get more exposure of the URL term because there are much more people
using web for various reasons than e.g. SIP or email or SDP. For web,
sure, there's the URL bar in your browser and HTTP headers and that's
pretty much it. Given this, I can understand WhatWG's decision to
standardize URLs *in their specific domain*. That doesn't make that
choice valid in other domains. Search through SIP RFC and you will find
the correct term is URI there. If your library targets those other
domains, you should speak their language, too.

Sorry, but I can't call e.g. an email address an URL, and I don't agree
with proliferation of such confusion. It's MB vs. MiB all over again.

> Another way to think of it, in terms of name recognition "URI" is to
> .org what "URL" is to .com. People assume that a domain name is in
> .com because that's the most popular TLD. That's why .com domains go
> for so much more money.
> It is true that URL is not an exact fit if you adhere to the technical
> documentation 100%, but I think the overall benefit of just
> standardizing on the name "URL" outweighs the downsides. It is easier
> for users, better for Boost, and gives the library more appeal to
> average folk.

Well, let's agree to disagree then.

Boost list run by bdawes at, gregod at, cpdaniel at, john at