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http and ranges

From: Daniel Hellerstein <danielh@mailbox.econ.ag.gov>
Date: Fri, 18 Sep 1998 10:43:50 -0400
Message-Id: <s6023ab1.054@MAILBOX.ECON.AG.GOV>
To: http-wg@hplb.hpl.hp.com
> Thanks. Now I see how to do a GET with range request.
> Now, another question:
> Is there a way to specify the offset or range with the http: URL
> syntax ?
> i.e. something like http://host/dir/file@range=0,500

The real question is how such an addition (to some future http 1.2)
would be used. I can think of two general cases:

1)Aas a means of obtaining a portion of a resource; such as a
single chapter of a long document.

But  one could always just have separate files containing chapter 1,
chapter 2,.. ( as complements to the "entire document").  Alternatively,  a
script (cgi-bin or whatever) that would parse the request line, looking
for a "@range",  and (if found) use the "=0,500" to selectively return a
portion of the document, should be fairly easy to create.

2) As a means of selectively updating a portion of an otherwise large
resource. For example, acrobat can use a range: header to request
selected pages of a long pdf file. 

But this then means having client software (i.e.; browsers) that
understand the request syntax being used.  But there already is a
syntax that will support such actions (that is, the aforementioned use of
range: request header).

In other words, although new http methods, etc (such as  adoption of a
RANGE  method) might be useful, I suspect it's not worth the trouble.
Received on Friday, 18 September 1998 07:54:18 EDT

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