A post over on BexHuff got me thinking about syntax. The gist of the post was that DNS is backwards. As they wrote;


Putting directions in that order makes about as much sense as these directions: turn left at reception, go to this company, go to France, then make a right.

Which I guess is true – but then I thought; does anyone really look at URL’s anymore? Isn’t 90% of browsing done via Google? As I commented to BexHuff;

Why have all that bizarre http, www, and slash this and slash that stuff – it’s all counter to user-centricity

So what about it, in this approaching era of semantic web presence, is it time to find a new naming system – or even to go beyond systems and work purely on tags?

Ben Kepes

Ben Kepes is a technology evangelist, an investor, a commentator and a business adviser. Ben covers the convergence of technology, mobile, ubiquity and agility, all enabled by the Cloud. His areas of interest extend to enterprise software, software integration, financial/accounting software, platforms and infrastructure as well as articulating technology simply for everyday users.

  • This is a required evil, there isn’t any way more logical. URL’s are basically

    {type of request/syntax(also determines port)} ~ {hostname – directs some nice text like “diversity” to a server on the network “” by checking NDS} ~ {file directories}

    That’s an oversimplification and you can read more somewhere like here – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/URI_scheme#Generic_syntax – but tags etc are something for browsers to use to better search a database like Google or your bookmarks, whereas “syntax” in this instance is the base underlying technology.

    There are 5 layers to tcp/ip that constitute the “how”, let’s not try and re-invent that…

  • You’ll also find that almost every anti-phishing/net privacy/net safety measure involves in some fundamental way the DNS system.

    This is because (a) DNS is itself (reasonably) secure and relatively hard to spoof (b) Registration/Ownership of a domain is often aligned quite strongly with various real world identities/gaurantees that we are familiar with – for example, we know that anything happening on a name that ends in yahoo.com is something that, ultimately Yahoo! Inc will be responsible for.

    Have you ever tried to re-organise DNS at a large organisation. Fortnately I haven’t but have heard many times that it quickly becomes a massive political bunfight. Thats a pain, but it also indicates that DNS is connected to politics in a way that can be useful.

    If it ever gets to the point that we don’t use actual DNS names to navigate to and/or access content then we will be opening ourselves up for a huge phising/scamming/spamming problem.

    I realise that DNS is not impossible to fake out or scam but in fact its really the bedrock on which a huge amount of anti-spam/anti-scam measures rely. I think we need it.

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