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Re: Worries about content-length

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Mon, 8 May 1995 06:53:27 PDT
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <95May8.065341pdt.2761@golden.parc.xerox.com>
The boundary-marker method used by MIME multipart is the only way I've
seen of getting (nearly) reliable determination of the end of the data
without using content-length.

I wonder if there might be some way to employ this method in HTTP for
single-part data being sent back over HTTP when content-length can't
be easily precomputed (CGI or what have you).

Implementation is easy: the server would compute a random string,
include it in the HTTP header; at the end of the transmission (e.g.,
when the CGI returns without error) it would add the terminating
header.

The client would have to scan the incoming data for the terminating
delimiter; while this adds a bit of extra overhead, it's relatively
small compared with the amount of work necessary to parse or display
the data. For proxy caching servers, this adds a critical reliability
step toward keeping incomplete transmissions out of the cache.

Of course, one might hope this would become moot with HTTP-ng, but I'm
not sure.
Received on Monday, 8 May 1995 06:55:48 EDT

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