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RE: body on HEAD errror response

From: Larry Masinter - LMM@acm.org <LMM@acm.org>
Date: Tue, 9 Oct 2001 14:42:36 -0700
To: "HTTP Working Group" <http-wg@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Cc: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com>
Message-ID: <NDBBKEBDLFENBJCGFOIJIELJFLAA.lmnet@attglobal.net>
OK, OK, I blew it.

The spec is right, the implementations tested (below) were wrong.


> -----Original Message-----
> From: Larry Masinter [mailto:LMM@acm.org]
> Sent: Tuesday, October 09, 2001 1:59 PM
> To: HTTP Working Group
> Cc: http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com
> Subject: body on HEAD errror response
> I believe that the HTTP spec is wrong, and should say that 2xx
> responses to HEAD must not contain a body, but other responses
> should.
> ==========================
> We're having a problem reconciling the HTTP 1.1 spec with what 
> servers are actually doing.  The HTTP spec says (section 4.3, message 
> body):
>     For response messages, whether or not a message-body is included with
>     a message is dependent on both the request method and the response
>     status code (section 6.1.1). All responses to the HEAD request method
>     MUST NOT include a message-body, even though the presence of entity-
>     header fields might lead one to believe they do. All 1xx
>     (informational), 204 (no content), and 304 (not modified) responses
>     MUST NOT include a message-body. All other responses do include a
>     message-body, although it may be of zero length.
> and also
> 9.4 HEAD
>     The HEAD method is identical to GET except that the server MUST NOT
>     return a message-body in the response. The metainformation contained
>     in the HTTP headers in response to a HEAD request SHOULD be identical
>     to the information sent in response to a GET request. This method can
>     be used for obtaining metainformation about the entity implied by the
>     request without transferring the entity-body itself. This method is
>     often used for testing hypertext links for validity, accessibility,
>     and recent modification.
> But, in spite of this, every server we test against (and every one 
> we've written ourselves) returns a body on ERROR responses to the 
> HEAD request (e.g., HTML explaining the error on a 400, 401, 404, and 
> so on).
> =================================
Received on Tuesday, 9 October 2001 22:45:51 UTC

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