W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg-old@w3.org > September to December 1996

Re: origin server vs. proxy with full URL

From: John Franks <john@math.nwu.edu>
Date: Fri, 27 Dec 1996 10:47:42 -0600 (CST)
To: Dave Kristol <dmk@research.bell-labs.com>
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <Pine.SUN.3.95.961227101906.16346A-100000@hopf.math.nwu.edu>
On Fri, 27 Dec 1996, Dave Kristol wrote:

> Okay, this may be a dumb question....  (Not my first!)
> 

Actually Dave you ask extremely good questions.  The problem seems to
be that they don't always get answered.

I am still waiting for consensus on the response header from an 
HTTP/1.1 server to an HTTP/1.0 request.  Did I miss it?

The options were:

1) Send HTTP/1.0 because that is the protocol the server is actually
using.

2) Send HTTP/1.1 to advertise the servers capability to use 1.1 even
though what it is using is the 1.0 protocol.

3) This is an implementation issue and up to the server.  The browser/proxy
must be able to accomodate either.


I believe Dave opted for 1) and that seems the most reasonable to me.
The ambiguity has already created the notorious AOL flap.  Apparently
the Apache writers decided on option 2) (eminently reasonable) and at
least some of them interpreted the spec to mean that option 2) is a
MUST (this seems hard to defend especially in light of the fact the WG
can't agree on the meaning of the spec).  At the same time AOL proxy
developers interpreted the HTTP/1.1 header to mean that HTTP/1.1
protocol and headers were being used.  This is not really consistent
with the current spec, but is a "common sense" interpretation one
might arrive at if the spec was not carefully studied.  Yes, everyone
SHOULD study the spec, but option 2) is somewhat counter-intuitive 
and even the WG does not agree that this is what the spec says.

The bottom line is that 2) is consistent with the spec and may even
have been the intention of some spec authors.  But it is sufficiently
counter-intuitive that it will continue to cause problems unless the
spec spells out explicitly that this is what is required.  The fact
that the WG can't agree on what the current spec says about this is
prima facie evidence that ambiguity needs to be removed.


John Franks 	Dept of Math. Northwestern University
		john@math.nwu.edu
Received on Friday, 27 December 1996 08:49:19 EST

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