W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg-old@w3.org > May to August 1995

Re: Byte ranges -- formal spec proposal

From: James Gosling <jag@scndprsn.eng.sun.com>
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 17:50:00 +0800
Message-Id: <9505180050.AA28623@norquay.Eng.Sun.COM>
To: connolly@beach.w3.org, john@math.nwu.edu
Cc: luotonen@netscape.com, www-talk@w3.org, http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com, uri@bunyip.com
> According to Daniel W. Connolly:
> > 
> > A nice, clear, complete proposal. As you say, this could be done as a
> > server-private mechanism, but there's no reason why everybody
> > shouldn't do it the same way.
> > 
> > A couple nits:
> > 
> > >     * The first byte in file is byte number 1.
> > 
> > Blech. I'd rather it were 0. No biggie.
> > 
> 
> Base 0 is fine for bytes but would be problematic for other ranges.
> E.g. 
> 
> 	http://host/book;chapterrange=3-5
> 
> would mean chapters 4 to 6 if base 0 is used.  This would be just too
> confusing.  We thought it better to be consistent and use the same
> base for everything.

I don't think this is relevant: http should be kept simple and data-type
independent, leave out the higher level semantics.  Then 0 based
addressing is the most sensible.  Even for chapters, the argument is
weak: what chapter number is the title page?  What chapter number
applies to appendicies?  Does the number then need to be a string that
names a sub-entity?  This is a Pandora's Box that should stay closed.

Any thought on how this should interect with dynamic computed documents
(CGI-bin scripts)?  Supporting range addressing of computed documents
would require either re-computation on each fetch, or caching.  If
re-computed, how do you guarantee consistancy?  Imagine fetching a
document one byte at a time that contains the server's load average.
Received on Wednesday, 17 May 1995 17:49:21 EDT

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