URI/File scheme

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This is the home of The 'file' URI Scheme Update Project.


This workspace is for the W3C URI Interest Group, consisting of subscribers to the group's public mailing list, to prepare a new draft specification for the 'file' URI scheme.

The 'file' scheme is currently defined in section 3.10 of RFC 1738, published in December 1994. Due to the publication of subsequent RFCs, most parts of RFC 1738 have been rendered obsolete. However, some of the sections pertaining to a handful of schemes, such as 'file', are still in effect. Members of the URI Interest Group are hoping to produce new RFCs for each of these schemes so that RFC 1738 can finally be retired.1

The 'file' scheme draft will be initially prepared here, then taken by an as-yet undesignated editor (most likely, Larry Masinter) and reworked into a proper Internet-Draft or RFC that can then be submitted to the IETF.

The goal of using a wiki is to enable people to collaborate and contribute directly to the draft as they work through various difficult issues related to this particular URI scheme, rather than burdening one single editor with minutiae and demands for issues to be addressed. Consensus need not be achieved for the project to be a success; success will instead be measured by the production of a working draft that at least acknowledges, if it can't resolve, all of the issues that are relevant to the 'file' scheme.

How to contribute

Participation in this workspace has no special membership requirements; any interested party may contribute. If you want to contribute, just:

  1. Review the current work progress to date;
  2. Join the mailing list (this establishes you as a member of the URI Interest Group);
  3. Email the administrator of this wiki to get an account set up (so that you can edit articles); and then
  4. Make edits as you see fit.

Your first edit should be to your own user page, where you should at least mention your real name. Also adjust your preferences so that pages you edit will be automatically added to your watchlist.

Edits, even big ones, do not necessarily need to be discussed in advance, but if you think your contribution will be controversial, ask about it first. Discussion may take place either on the mailing list or on the discussion/'talk' page for each article. In order to reach the widest audience, the list is probably the better forum.

What's here

Related specifications

  • RFC 1738 (December 1994): URLs — mostly obsolete, but contains the current 'file' scheme specification
  • RFC 1808 (June 1995): Relative URLs — obsolete, but widely implemented
  • RFC 2396 (August 1998): URI generic syntax — obsolete, but widely implemented
  • RFC 2732 (December 1999): IPv6 addresses in URLs — obsolete supplement to RFC 2396
  • RFC 3986 / STD 66 (January 2005): URI generic syntax — current spec


Other external links


  1. The schemes described in RFC 1738 that are being published as separate RFCs are: file, ftp, gopher, news, nntp, prospero, telnet, and wais. Paul Hoffman created a set of Internet-Drafts for them in August 2004; some have expired and are no longer available, others have been approved for publication as RFCs.