Basic organising unit of the web

In Pages are the Problem Khoi Vinh questions the current naming convention of the ‘basic organizing unit of a Web site‘ i.e. a page as in Web pages.

A Web page and a printed page are so materially different from one another that it’s almost ridiculous to use the same terminology to describe them. It’s nearly as counter-intuitive as using the terms “episode” (for a television show) and “issue” (for a magazine) interchangeably.

When Web designers think of a page, we tend to understand that it’s a page in name only, and that in fact its true nature is as a container for content, features and behaviors. But the idea of a page has such a deeply rooted connotation in centuries of printed matter that Web novices tend to think of Web pages as simply finite blocks of text and images, with functionality and interactions as only superficial garnishes.”

As discussed previously it seems to me that we need to design systems that separate the storage, retrieval and presentation of information. And the notion of a ‘web page’ doesn’t help this cause because it infers that is that storage and presentation are synonymous – much like a real paper page in a book. A ‘web page’ implies that a resource is ‘baked’ into a page and published.

In seems to me that rather than ‘web pages‘ we should think of ‘views‘ and ‘resources‘ Where views are like windows onto sets of retrieved resources, so that a single piece of information can be accessed via multiple views. Resources are stored centrally before being aggregated into one or more views e.g. aggregations, contextual views or a canonical view of the resource; and in whatever format is required.

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