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Re: Byte ranges -- formal spec proposal

From: John Franks <john@math.nwu.edu>
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 20:11:44 -0500 (CDT)
Message-Id: <199505180111.UAA06793@hopf.math.nwu.edu>
To: Chuck Shotton <cshotton@biap.com>
Cc: luotonen@netscape.com, www-talk@w3.org, http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com, uri@bunyip.com
According to Chuck Shotton:
> 
> >Description of the byterange URL Parameter
> >
> >     * The byte range request is attached to the end of the URL,
> >       separated by a semi-colon.
> 
> Why not use the already supported "?" separator? Many file systems use the
> semi-colon character to represent version numbers and overloading this
> character could cause difficulties. In effect, you are asking the server to
> "search" for a specific byte range in a document anyway, so it's not too
> big of a stretch to adopt the "?" safe character instead of risking
> possible conflicts with ";".
> 

I see a potential problem with using '?' because it is already used
for forms.  What happens if someone has a form with a field named
"byterange"?  We are better off having the name space for form fields
separate from that of URL parameters.

> 
> Please. Let's not expand on this. It forces servers to have a much more
> intimate knowledge of the content they serve than is necessary. Let's
> define how byte ranges work and leave the nasty WWW object model for
> another day and another syntax.

I generally agree with this, though I might not have put it so strongly.
On the other hand it is fine for servers to implement server specific 
parameters with special meaning for that server.  There are a number of
such in the server that I wrote.  If, as in the case of byterange, it
turns out that several implementors want the same functionality it makes
sense to try to standardize.

John Franks
Received on Wednesday, 17 May 1995 19:34:42 EDT

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