Understanding web technologies requires an understanding of some of the concepts that make the web work. One of those concepts is a rather simple one, yet one that is essential to the web: Uniform Resource Identifier (URI). Without URI, the web would not be the world wide web that we know and love. In this article, we will decode the critical web term ‘What Does URI Mean?’.
What is URI?
A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a string of characters used to identify a name or a resource on the internet. It is used to specify the location of a resource and to retrieve it. The resource can be a document, a web page, an image, or any other resource that can be accessed through the web.
The difference between URI and URL
URI and URL are often used interchangeably but there is a distinct difference between the two. URI is a broader term that encompasses both Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and Uniform Resource Name (URN). URL is a subset of URI, and it refers only to the web address of a resource. A famous example is the URL:
Elements of URI
A URI consists of several elements that identify a resource on the web. These elements include:
- Scheme: The scheme specifies the protocol used to retrieve the resource. For example, ‘https’ for secure hypertext transfer protocol, and ‘ftp’ for file transfer protocol.
- Authority: The authority component is the location of the resource. It includes the domain name or IP address and sometimes the port number of the server.
- Path: The path component is the location of the resource on the server. It specifies the directories and filenames that make up the resource.
- Query: The query component is used to provide additional information to the server. It is usually a set of key-value pairs that help the server to return a more specific result.
- Fragment: The fragment component identifies a specific part of the resource. It is often used to link to specific parts of a web page.
Here are examples of how the components of a URI can be used to identify a resource:
Importance of URI
The use of URI is an essential aspect of web development. Having a unified way of identifying a resource on the web simplifies how we share resources, and how we can link resources together. It enables developers and users to easily locate resources on the internet, and it has become the backbone of the web.
URI in SEO
URI plays a crucial role in SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The URL of a website can impact its search engine ranking, and having a well-formulated URI can help increase web traffic. A well-structured URI can also help users decipher the type of content on the page, and this can help improve the user experience.
Implementing a URI is straightforward as long as you follow the syntax. The syntax of a URI is defined in RFC 3986 (URI: Generic Syntax). It is a set of guidelines that ensure that URI is well-formed and correctly written.
The unreserved characters are allowed in any part of the URI without requiring encoding. The unreserved characters are:
ALPHA / DIGIT / "-" / "." / "_" / "~"
The reserved characters are used for special meaning in URI syntax. They must be encoded to be used in the URI. The reserved characters are:
gen-delims = ":" / "/" / "?" / "#" / "[" / "]" / "@"
; Generic delimiters
sub-delims = "!" / "$" / "&" / "'" / "(" / ")"
/ "*" / "+" / "," / ";" / "="
; Subordinate delimiters
URI Best Practices
There are good practices that developers can follow when implementing a URI:
- Keep the URL clean with only essential information
- Use lowercase letters for the scheme and hostname
- Avoid the use of unsafe characters where possible
- Use hyphens instead of underscores and avoid spaces
- Use descriptive and short URLs as much as possible.
Uniform Resource Identifier is an essential part of web development. It enables developers to create resources and describe their location on the web. It has become the glue that binds the web together, and without it, the web would not function as we know it today.
- 1. What is a Uniform Resource Identifier (URI)?
- 2. What are the elements of a URI?
- 3. What is the difference between URI and URL?
- 4. What is the importance of URI in SEO?
A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a string of characters that identifies the name or location of a resource on the internet.
The elements of URI include scheme, authority, path, query, and fragment.
Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a broader term that encompasses both Uniform Resource Locator (URL) and Uniform Resource Name (URN). URL refers only to the web address of a resource.
URI plays a crucial role in SEO. The URL of a website can impact its search engine ranking, and having a well-formulated URI can help increase web traffic.
Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax. IETF Tools. Retrieved on July 4,2021 from https://tools.ietf.org/html/rfc3986