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

Re: Byte ranges -- formal spec proposal

From: Marc VanHeyningen <marcvh@spry.com>
Date: Thu, 18 May 1995 16:42:11 -0700
To: Chuck Shotton <cshotton@biap.com>
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <15810.800840531@pellet.spry.com>
(OK, I give up, we'll talk about this on http-wg.  As long as it's only
 one place.)

Chuck Shotton sed:
> At 2:55 PM 5/18/95, Brian Behlendorf wrote:
> >On Thu, 18 May 1995, Chuck Shotton wrote:
> Well, what is gained by calling the first byte in a file "0", or the 50th
> byte in a file 49? This is a tiny nit, but the world isn't a C array
> variable. It's a heck of a lot easier to look at 20-30 (when debugging,
> developing, or anything else) and realize it means bytes twenty through
> thirty and not twenty one through thirty one.

Er, the "intuition" issue is a meaningless holy war.  To me, it is very
unintuitive to look at "1-50" and know that it actually refers to the
zeroth through the 49th byte of the file.  For that matter, it is a lot
unintuitive to me to say that the range "x-y" actually has a size not of
y minus x, but of y minus x plus 1.

> Details, details. :) But how does a VMS server know that ";22" means byte
> 22 and not version 22 of the file? 

Because the semicolon is escaped, as it must be since it is a tspecial in
the HTTP grammar.

> How about if we re-visit the "#"
> proposal again and investigate whether or not this really hoses clients as
> I first suspected?

> Sure, but it SHOULD be encoded as part of the file name with %xx encodings,
> were the ? used as a search arg separator isn't encoded. If you parse URLs
> PRIOR TO %xx decodings, special chars retain their meaning. I guess this is
> an argument for VMS servers (and HTML authors) to encode ";" in file names.

The spec has required this for quite some time now.  Are there really many
VMS folks who are doing this wrong?  (Are there very many of them at all? :-)
Mind you, I'm not terribly fond of the semicolon, but I don't see this as
a valid objection to it.

- Marc
Received on Thursday, 18 May 1995 16:44:38 EDT

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