RE: Microsoft's "I mean it" content-type parameter

Daniel -

The *entire* Web is founded on sloppy programmers, what makes you think that
this scenario is an exception? If browser vendors didn't create browsers
that accepted any semi-reasonable slop served out, then the Web would still
just be TBL and a few scientists who were used to Postscript being delighted
at how "simple" HTML is (while the public has proven how hard it is to write
valid HTML) to pass around their academic papers. :)

But you are right about there being a chicken/egg issue here in my
particular example. I am *positive* that Apache's behavior of throwing
everything out at text/html unless explicitly specified otherwise with a
MIME mapping or in the headers from a CGI had a lot to do with it, which
Julian already explained.

I don't think the proposal is a good one either, for the record. I also
don't think it is a bad one. It doesn't break anything, and it extends the
protocol in a way that does not cause any problems to existing stuff, and it
will only be used by a small fraction of people.


-----Original Message-----
From: [] On
Behalf Of Daniel Stenberg
Sent: Thursday, July 03, 2008 11:52 AM
To: 'HTTP Working Group'
Subject: RE: Microsoft's "I mean it" content-type parameter

On Thu, 3 Jul 2008, Justin James wrote:

> There are tons of legitimate use cases here they you have completely 
> overlooked. For example, lots of server side applications throw out
> of a type different from what their file extension would indicate. For 
> example, the earliest "hit counter" programs were .cgi or .pl files 
> (typically) generating image/gif or image/jpeg content. The Web servers
> set up explicitly to serve the output of those applications as text/html. 
> And a great many developers had no idea that they needed to change the 
> Content-type at the code level to make this work. Content sniffing made
> easier for these developers.

Uh, that doesn't make sense.

Sure, some scripts output wrong Content-Type. Then no browser can output it 
correctly and thus you fix the server side.

But, this system with bad Content-Type outputs still showing up nicely only 
works if the client *already* have does this "sniffing" business and thus
more or less encouraged the server-side hackers to remain sloppy.

So this cannot have been a case where the browser adapted to how servers
since servers would hardly ever have worked this way if some browsers didn't

already support it...

I find this "I promise this time I really mean that the type is what I say" 
attribute hilariously funny.



Received on Thursday, 3 July 2008 16:05:31 UTC