Re: partial URLs ? (was <p> ... </p>)

>As I recall the draft RFC for URL's specifies that certain characters
>(like space) are forbidden, certain (like '?') have special meaning
>and otherwise the "path" part of a URL is an opaque string (which, in
>particular, may have nothing to do with a path).  Neither '/' nor '.'
>are forbidden or have special meaning.

In the original URL draft spec, "/" denoted hierarcy within containers,
while ".." referenced the parent container. They were very careful to note
that there was no implicit semantic interpretation with respect to a file
system, Unix or otherwise. Whether or not the interpretation of "/" and
".." is the same in the current RFC or not, I can't say. But I can tell you
that there are enough clients and servers built upon the assumption that
"/" denotes hierarchy that removing this specificity will break lots of

>They do have special meaning
>*for some implementations* and no special meaning for others.
>Likewise the colon may have special meaning for some implementations
>and not for others.

Beyond the set of chars above ("/","..", "?") you are right. The path
portion of a URL is generally considered to be opaque to all but the
implementing server, with the semantic exception that "/" denotes

>The fact that certain strings may represent securtity risks for
>some implementations does not automatically make them illegal.
>I don't believe that "/../" is forbidden in HTTP URL's.  If
>I am wrong I would be interested in a reference.

This references the container of the root of your document tree, whatever
that means.

>It would, of course, be quite reasonable for the HTTP spec to have
>a UNIX-centric warning to implementors that they should make this
>string illegal for their implementation (or risk the consequences).

And by the same token, a warning that URL paths are not file system paths,
regardless of the one to one mapping in many servers.

Chuck Shotton                               StarNine Technologies, Inc.                                           
                      "What? Me? WebSTAR?"

Received on Wednesday, 20 December 1995 18:56:05 UTC