11:02:26 PM # comment  trackback 
There are some really useful Bible reference works in the public domain and therefore on the web, like Smith's Bible Dictionary, Easton's Bible Dictionary, and the International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (ISBE). Alas, all the Christian sites i've found (that i'd want to link to) have them indexed by a magic number, rather than a standardized identifier based on their name. So John the Baptist is http://www.studylight.org/enc/isb/view.cgi?number=T5097 (ISBE), or http://www.studylight.org/dic/ebd/view.cgi?number=T2092 (Easton's), or http://www.studylight.org/dic/sbd/view.cgi?number=T2453 (Smith's). The problem: the numerical indexes are all arbitrary, so there's no way to predict them and construct a URL from the name itself, something like the non-existent http://greatbiblestuff.org/smith/john+the+baptist.
The name for this style of URL is REST (REpresentational State Transfer). You can see it at work at amazon.com, where knowing the ISBN number for a book is enough to automatically construct a URL pointing to their page for it. RESTian URLs enable web services by clearly labeling resources. Actually, there are a few RESTian style sites with these resources, but they're not ones i'd want to link to, either because of the advertising they contain, or the sponsors. So as it is, the only way i can construct these URLs (for several hundred names, times three or four reference works) is to go through all the sources and create my own indices mapping e.g. John the Baptist to #5097 for ISBE, etc. What a pain.
Nothing like a rant so obscure that people have a hard time figuring out what you're mad about ...
10:05:48 PM # comment  trackback 
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