Re: Solution to the CGI message trap

From: Jeffrey Mogul (mogul@pa.dec.com)
Date: Mon, Aug 10 1998


Message-Id: <9808101750.AA05735@acetes.pa.dec.com>
To: "David W. Morris" <dwm@xpasc.com>
Cc: ietf-http-ext@w3.org
Date: Mon, 10 Aug 98 10:50:28 MDT
From: Jeffrey Mogul <mogul@pa.dec.com>
Subject: Re: Solution to the CGI message trap 

    This would be exactly my point ... if a new method is sent to a
    server which doesn't support the application which uses the new
    method, so what?  Brain dead client application gets what it
    deserves ... a brain dead response.
    
Right.  But the problem remains, how is the client supposed to know
whether or not the server supports the application in question?  One
major strength of the Web is that clients and servers do not have to
come from the same team in order to play together, but this breaks down
if we have to assume some mystical out-of-band mechanism for
determining whether an application is "supported".  It makes sense for
HTTP-EXT to come up with a simple, relatively efficient, and (most
important of all) 100% reliable means for a client to test its belief
about a server.

It's OK if the protocol "punts on disconnects", but at least it
should be capable of detecting disconnects (and, perhaps, pointing
a finger in the right general direction.)

We can whine all we want about the moral failings of clueless
implementors and administrators, but unless we have a protocol-supported
way to test for cluelessness, it's not going to get us anywhere.

-Jeff