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RE: Sending Referer [#144]

From: Brian Smith <brian@briansmith.org>
Date: Mon, 1 Jun 2009 14:14:26 -0500
To: "'Mark Nottingham'" <mnot@mnot.net>, "'HTTP Working Group'" <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Cc: "'Adam Barth'" <w3c@adambarth.com>
Message-ID: <001e01c9e2ed$31482cf0$93d886d0$@org>
Mark Nottingham wrote:
> However, in previous discussions, Adam et al indicated that it would
> be interesting to require that Referer always be sent, by minting a
> new value (e.g., 'null', although it will have to be something else,
> since "null" is a valid partial-URI) to indicate when a Referer is not
> available.

> Purely within HTTPbis, I think the best we could do, then, would be to
> add a null value that can be sent when appropriate, and encourage UAs
> to send referer. However, there's nothing stopping a third party
> document (e.g., a W3C browser profile) from requiring that it be sent...

There's no way to represent the null value in a way compatible with RFC 2616
syntax. New syntax for existing headers should be done only for HTTP 1.2 or
later. Further, this would be a new feature, which would make it out of
scope for HTTPbis.

I think that the less that is said about Referer in the HTTPbis
specification, the better. Its syntax and intended purpose is enough. Any
requirements regarding Referer for UAs are pointless; they will be ignored
by most UAs, especially UAs that aren't browsers. A specification for what
web browsers should do with the Referer should go into a browser-specific

Received on Monday, 1 June 2009 19:15:06 UTC

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