Uniform Resource Identifier (URI): Generic Syntax

This RFC 3986 was published in 2005.

Abstract

A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) is a compact sequence of characters that identifies an abstract or physical resource.
This specification defines the generic URI syntax and a process for resolving URI references that might be in relative form, along with guidelines and security considerations for the use of URIs on the Internet.
The URI syntax defines a grammar that is a superset of all valid URIs, allowing an implementation to parse the common components of a URI reference without knowing the scheme-specific requirements of every possible identifier.
This specification does not define a generative grammar for URIs; that task is performed by the individual specifications of each URI scheme.

RFC 3986 introduction

A Uniform Resource Identifier (URI) provides a simple and extensible means for identifying a resource.
This specification of URI syntax and semantics is derived from concepts introduced by the World Wide Web global information initiative, whose use of these identifiers dates from 1990 and is described in "Universal Resource Identifiers in WWW" [RFC1630].
The syntax is designed to meet the recommendations laid out in "Functional Recommendations for Internet Resource Locators" [RFC1736] and "Functional Requirements for Uniform Resource Names" [RFC1737].

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