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Re: text of description of "POST"

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@apache.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Apr 2002 13:10:56 -0700
Cc: Larry Masinter <lmnet@attglobal.net>, ietf-http-wg@w3.org
To: Mark Baker <distobj@acm.org>
Message-Id: <62E4D97E-57BF-11D6-87D7-000393753936@apache.org>

On Tuesday, April 23, 2002, at 09:42  AM, Mark Baker wrote:

> Oops, sorry, this one slipped by my radar until now.  I'll
> redirect my response to ietf-http-wg@w3.org.
>
> On Thu, Apr 04, 2002 at 07:22:39PM -0800, Larry Masinter wrote:
>> Section 9.5 of RFC 2616 says:
>>
>>    The POST method is used to request that the origin server accept the
>>    entity enclosed in the request as a new subordinate of the resource
>>    identified by the Request-URI in the Request-Line.
>>
>> Now, later on in the section it notes that POST covers other cases, e.g.
>> ,
>>
>>       - Providing a block of data, such as the result of submitting a
>>         form, to a data-handling process;
>>
>> but some people have taken the first sentence to be somehow
>> definitional. ("is used" turning into "is only used" rather than
>> "may be used").
>>
>> So I would suggest changing this wording -- and even putting up an
>>  errata -- that "The POST method is used to request that the origin
>>  server accept the entity enclosed in the request as data to be
>>  processed by the resource identified by the Request-URI in the
>>  Request-Line."
>
> I'll all for cleaning up the definition of POST, but IMO, proceeding
> with text that has most often been cited by those who tunnel over POST
> (IPP, SOAP), is the wrong way to go.
>
> I could perhaps go for this definition if it were amended to say
> something like;
>
>  "The POST method is used to request that the origin server accept
>   the entity enclosed in the request as data to be processed by
>   the resource identified by the Request-URI in the Request-Line.
>   The entity SHOULD NOT include any instruction or direction to
>   perform an action other than simple form-like submission."

No, that would be over-constraining the protocol (adding a requirement
that isn't necessary for interoperability just means people will ignore
the requirement).  POST is still the place for spill-over semantics.

However, I do think that the definition should include ALL of the things
for which POST is used, including the semantics of usenet news and mail
for which this method does continue to apply and for which Larry's
suggested definition isn't sufficient.  There is absolutley nothing
wrong with the definition supplied in RFC 2616.  It should not be changed,
and certainly isn't errata.

Cheers,

Roy T. Fielding, Chairman, The Apache Software Foundation
                  (fielding@apache.org)  <http://www.apache.org/>

                  Chief Scientist, Day Software
                  2 Corporate Plaza, Suite 150   tel:+1.949.644.2557 x102
                  Newport Beach, CA 92660-7929   fax:+1.949.644.5064
                  (roy.fielding@day.com) <http://www.day.com/>
Received on Wednesday, 24 April 2002 16:10:54 GMT

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