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RE: HTTP Partial Download Query

From: Yogesh Bang <Y.Bang@zensar.com>
Date: Thu, 12 Dec 2002 16:17:40 +0530
Message-ID: <12DBF81D4944C546AF06D1A37A07A5C8148A9B@zenmail1.ind.zensar.com>
To: "Alex Rousskov" <rousskov@measurement-factory.com>
Cc: <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>

Dear Alex,

Many Thanks for your valuable directives.

My requirement is that I need to LOG which autherised user
has asked for download of which DIGITAL CONTENT and to track whether
the TRANSFER of that resource from WEB-SERVER is successful or not.

By the term COMPLETE DOWNLOAD, I mean to say the full transfer of that
digital content from WEB-SERVER. It need not be necessary to track 
whether it has reached the CLIENT machine.

For PARTIAL DOWNLOAD case the real problem is that 
I can not keep Session and also I can not keep cookies at client 
machine (Since the client can be any Device,PDA,Mobile Phones which may 
or may-not allow any cookies). In such case how to track the 
DOWNLOAD status?

One scenario which is also not clear to me is when WEB-SEVER will send
multipart/byteranges response? I mean SINGLE response to a request 
for multiple non-overlapping ranges. 
How to REQUEST for multiple non-overlapping ranges looks like?
If you can explain the scenarion with sample Http Request-Response,
It will be enormous help (Please refer to section 19.2 
of RFC 2616).

Once again thanks for your valuable time.

With Regards,
Yog



-----Original Message-----
From: Alex Rousskov [mailto:rousskov@measurement-factory.com]
Sent: Wednesday, December 11, 2002 9:55 PM
To: Yogesh Bang
Cc: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
Subject: RE: HTTP Partial Download Query


On Wed, 11 Dec 2002, Yogesh Bang wrote:

> Let me further clarify my points. I do not have any control over the
> Client. I also do not have any control on TCP/IP stack or Web
> Server.

Noted. Then you can forget about doing any tricks to limit response
sizes. Leave it to the client, the server, and HTTP. Just make sure
your code supports any HTTP client you care about. RFC 2616 and other
specs define what a client can do; the server API (and CGI specs)
define what your module or CGI needs to do.

> But I can write server side CGI applications.
> But I want to take care that the DOWNLOAD of the requested
> DIGITAL CONTENT(mp3,image etc) is complete or not.
> And also handle the AUTHENTICATION and AUTHORISATION part for
> the requested DIGITAL CONTENT.
>
> AUTHENTICATION and AUTHORISATION part can be handled in Apache
> Module.
>
> But I am still not clear on
> 1)PARTIAL DOWNLOAD with RANGE request(section 14.35 of RFC 2616)

Is there any reason you want to authenticate or authorize range
requests specially? If yes, you need to tell us relevant requirements
so that we can help. If no, the presence of Range header is irrelevant
to your authentication and authorization code. You are simply
authenticating or authorizing any request that the server asks you to
handle.

> 2)Request for multiple non-overlapping ranges(section 19.2 of RFC
> 2616).

Same as (1). Is there any reason you want to authenticate or authorize
range requests specially?

> When the above TWO scenarios are possible?

When client sends Range request header and the server honors it. Both
events are probably irrelevant to authentication and authorization
code. In general, authentication and authorization would depend on
other request headers.

> How can one know that the DOWNLOAD is complete in above two cases?

This has nothing to do with authentication and authorization, right?
You need to define "complete download" first. If by "complete
download" you mean that an entire entity was _sent_ to the client,
then you have at least three cases to take care of:

	1) The server is generating a "200 OK" response,
	  sending entire entity to an authenticated and
	  authorized client. In this case, you can check
	  that the entire response left the server (no
	  aborted connections and such).

	2) The server is generating a "206 Partial Content"
	  response, sending one or more pieces of an entity
	  to an authenticated and authorized client. To check
	  whether the entire entity was sent, you would probably
	  have to establish and track some kind of a "session"
	  with the client (a download state that pure HTTP lacks).

	  Alternatively, you can assume that no client will do
	  two partial downloads for the same content in parallel.
	  Then you can use authentication information as session
	  identifier. This assumption will not hold in all real-world
	  environments, of course.

	  Note that it is probably  impossible to guarantee that a
	  client cannot fool your "session" tracking code simply
	  because you cannot distinguish one client session from
	  another client session originating from the same client
	  (without client-side support which you said you lack).

	  Once you assigned a session ID to a sequence of responses,
	  you can maintain a response "coverage map", marking pieces
	  that were sent to the client. Once there are no holes
	  in the map, the download is complete.

	3) The server is not sending any content to a client.
	   It could be a response to HEAD request or perhaps a 100
	   Continue message. Your code should skip such responses.

If by "complete download" you mean that an entire entity was
_received_ by the client, then you cannot track that reliably without
client-side support.

Perhaps your requirements are such that your authorization code must
know how much content the client has received so far (e.g., some kind
of pay-per-play scheme). The above logic can be adjusted for that as
well, with similar caveats.


HTH,

Alex.

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Received on Thursday, 12 December 2002 05:50:47 GMT

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