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Re: NUDGE: Our piece on Host: and URLs (Fwd)

From: Benjamin Franz <snowhare@netimages.com>
Date: Sat, 10 May 1997 10:43:38 -0700 (PDT)
To: http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com
Message-Id: <Pine.LNX.3.95.970510100636.20512A-100000@ns.viet.net>
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/3240
On Sat, 10 May 1997, David W. Morris wrote:
> On Sat, 10 May 1997, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> > 
> > Why?  There is currently no need for host to be an FQDN, for either
> > the Host field-value or a full-URL.  Please explain.
> I agree with Roy ... we recently had a new rehash of the question and
> it was/is quite clear that is is unreasonable to expect a client to
> fabricate a FQDN for the host field if it wasn't in the URL.  The whole
> purpose of the Host: field is satisified if the field is simply filled in
> with the host:port portion of the URL.  

How do you intend to distinguish 'www.nihongo.org' from
'www.netimages.com' on my server? They share the same IP address, the same
host name, and are completely unrelated. If I type 'http://www' on my
browser, I *WILL* connect (since I am inside the network) - but the server
will and *can* have no idea which of 6 different servers I *meant* to
access - a problem that will worsen with time. FQDNs are a sine qua non
of using the Host: header.. 

> There are many (orders of magnitude)  more cases where a client would find
> it impossible to create a FQDN than the obscure configuration where a
> client can use a partial name to locate the server BUT the server can't
> use that partial name to properly identify a virtual document root.

Well - that 'obscure configuration' happens on *EVERY* shared-IP server we
own when I am working on them from within our network. I would be
facinated if you could invent a way not requiring FQDNs where this
'obscure configuration' *wouldn't* happen without requiring me to install
*two* virtual servers for every server we have (with co-committent
configuration synchronization maintainance problems) and still allow me to
support the standard convention of naming web hosts 'www'.

An attempt to chop FQDNs down to the host feels to me like the kind of
protocal 'shortcut' (Shortcut: Noun; A path or course of action taken by
lazy people that only takes twice as much time and effort as the original
path or course of action would have taken.) that created the problem that
Host: solves in the first place - ambiguous identification of multiple web
servers sharing a single IP address.  Why take a step *backwards* for the
sake of people's lazyness in typing? 

Benjamin Franz
Received on Saturday, 10 May 1997 10:46:27 UTC

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