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news and thoughts on and around the development of the iCite net
by Jay Fienberg

i-names, XRIs, and

posted: Dec 5, 2004 5:53:33 PM

I finally got my personal i-name setup, =jayf. I met some of the folks behind this a couple years ago at PlaNetwork, and have been interested in seeing the XRI (Extensible Resource Identifier) standard in action ever since.

Basically, this XRI / i-name thing could make possible a widespread, built-in, standard for identification of resources and people (i.e., "identity") on the Internet.

At the same time, even with my own i-name, there's not much one can do with these, yet. So, I paid for an i-name as a gesture of encouragement of something that may eventually prove to be for the greater good of the Internet in the world—but I don't yet see how I'm going to get much out of it now or in the very near future.

Coincidentally, on my drawing board is the identifier / identity part of the iCite net, and it has many similarities to i-names and XRI. A main distinction is that the iCite net is an overlay network, e.g., it's an application interface that works with standard URLs.

So, as an example, when you click on =jayf, because your browser doesn't know XRIs, that link is a standard URL (which, is technically, yawn, a URI), and it points to an application interface that interprets part of the URL as an i-name XRI.

So, the underlying i-name interpreting application (somewhat ironically, I think) takes the i-name and uses it to construct . . . another URL which is for a web page with a contact form on it.

This is not to suggest that XRI is a useless abstraction of URLs. On the contrary, I think it's an important abstraction—and, something like that abstraction is a core concept in the iCite net. The real beef of XRI will be once XRI resolution becomes native in browsers and servers (e.g., =jayf could be an actual location in your web browser).

But, the iCite net, as a practical effort, is more about interfaces and their implementation as plugins, proxies, and applications than about underlying standards. And, this is partially because XRI already exists—why duplicate that effort?

What I think will be interesting (assuming I get to the point of releasing enough of the iCite net applications that the identifier portion is out in the wild) is having identity iCites include XRI i-names and iCite Containers being capable of resolving and constructing XRIs.

In other words, this would be something like what the i-name folks are doing now: providing a conventional URL interface to XRI construction and resolution.

Ultimately, the iCite net is more about a set of interfaces than about constructing / resolving identifiers, but iCites include a set of interfaces for constructing / resolving identifiers. And, I think that set of interfaces may be adaptable to XRIs—it will be an interesting experiment should the time come.

Finally, perhaps related, I just bought the domain name, (may redirect back to this site). I hope to eventually use this either for one of the iCite net (mobile phone) applications, or for something fun.

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Comment by: Lion Kimbro ·
posted: Dec 6, 2004 4:00:15 AM

I've been working on a project called "LocalNames."

Unlike i-names, it isn't based on a global registry.

Rather, names exist in namespaces. You can link or default namespaces to namespaces.

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