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Re: Why is From: limited?

From: Roman Czyborra <czyborra@cs.tu-berlin.de>
Date: Sat, 01 Apr 1995 10:23:17 +0200
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <czyborra95040110239081@titanic.cs.tu-berlin.de>
Phill Hallam-Baker writes:

> Unless a mailto feature was likely to be reliable it should not be
> implemented.  By reliable I mean that the mails should be read.

I agree.

> It is a simple enough matter to add a `webmaster' line to the bottom
> of a document with a Perl script.

It is not that simple for me to add such lines to multimedia
documents, let alone to documents that I have no write permission on.
I don't want to go around amending other people's pages, I want my
daemon to automatically insert a header.

> A from line would not be recognised by every browser so most sites
> would have to also add a webmaster line.

True.  But sending the From wouldn't hurt, either.  Chimera already
lets me see the entire response header.  Give it some time and
browsers will pick it up.  They'll interface even more to the
traditional tools to handle mail and news documents so you can easily
move around your documents.  HTTP has been moving in the direction of
RFC822/MIME for quite a while.

> This would then generate confusion since the two would have to
> match.

Not necessarily.  An authorship defined in the contents should be
considered the first address to complain to.  Only if the real author
lacks the permissions to change the mirrored copy of his document, the
rom sender should be contacted.

Chuck Shotton writes:

> Suppose "bin" owns all WWW documents? Do you think a system admin
> wants to spend all day forwarding stuff to the appropriate person?

Wouldn't any sysop who is so misorganized to install the web pages in
the bin account and generate From headers from it deserve this?

> I didn't say it might not be a good idea. I said that it couldn't be
> implemented in an efficient, usable fashion across multiple
> platforms.

If the HTTP servers running on Microsoft can provide rev=made links
they can also provide From headers. If not, then not.

> HTTP servers ultimately need to sit on databases (object bases), not
> file systems. When this happens, things like this will be easy to
> implement.

And then what header will you use?

	Link: <mailto:timbl@w3.org>; rev="Made"; title="Tim Berners-Lee"

	From: Tim Berners-Lee <timbl@w3.org>

Please don't tell me the From is so much harder to implement than the
Link or more compatible with existing software on the Internet.

> In the meantime, the value of such protocol candy is minimal when
> other, better techniques exist in HTML for doing the same thing.

The HTML tags have to be added manually and that's why so many web
documents lack authorship information.  An automatically inserted
optional header could help in those cases and may evolve to become the
preferred tag because it's added automatically like the headers of my

> Extrapolating that all sites must be like your site is faulty
> logic...

I didn't presume that, I have only extrapolated that my site isn't the
only one where HTTP exports files and those files have human owners
nor the only one where sophisticated applications of RFC822 are in

> If it is optional, then it is useless.

There will be plenty of people to benefit from it.  Imagine them
loading a retrieved document into their mail folder to keep or to
quote passages from it and comment on them.  If the From is there the
return To will be filled in already.  For documents that lack the From
the user may or may not be able to manually fill in the address.

> WWW is for anonymous publisher to anonymous reader communication.

Like news, WWW is a communication from prominent publishers to
anonymous readers.

> Please read through the URI/URN standards and the HTML 3.0 standard

I did.  From is not in there yet.

> you'll find plenty of stuff to sate your appetite for features.

I am not asking for new features, I am only trying to prevent an old
and well-established and simple standard from being forgotten.
Received on Saturday, 1 April 1995 00:27:06 UTC

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