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Date header handling

From: Nottingham, Mark (Australia) <mark_nottingham@exchange.au.ml.com>
Date: Mon, 19 Jul 1999 17:43:41 +1000
Message-ID: <D900F0C3D524D111971F00805F0D50E1022F4A6F@sv-meexch-01.au.ml.com>
To: http-wg@hplb.hpl.hp.com
14.18 says that the Date header "represents the date and time at which the
message was originated, having the same semantics as orig-date in RFC 822.
[...] The HTTP-date sent in a Date header SHOULD NOT represent a date and
time subsequent to the generation of the message."

Is the term 'message' used here as it is defined in 1.3? The reference to
822 seems to indicate it is bound to the entity generation date, not the
message generation date.

Also to support this,
* 13.5.1 implies that Date is a end-to-end header, and SHOULD NOT be changed
by a cache (although it isn't specifically forbidden in 13.5.2).
* 13.2.3 calculates entity age based on the Date header; if Date were
modified after entity generation, this would be invalid.

I've noticed that some Web caches will change the response's Date header to
reflect the time that they generate the message. Based on the above, this
seems to be incorrect. Others will use the original Date, but not update the
header upon validation (as in 13.5.3).

Is this correct? What's the proper behaviour here?


Mark Nottingham
Internet Project Manager
Merrill Lynch Australasia (Melbourne)
Received on Monday, 19 July 1999 08:45:31 UTC

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