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Re: POST with empty body

From: David Morris <dwm@xpasc.com>
Date: Thu, 2 Sep 2010 13:49:01 -0700 (PDT)
To: "'HTTP Working Group'" <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1009021309560.2830@egate.xpasc.com>

On Thu, 2 Sep 2010, Darrel Miller wrote:

> In the description of POST here [1], it starts with:
> "The POST method is used to request that the origin server accept the
> representation enclosed in the request as data to be processed by the
> target resource."
> This seems to infer that it is expected that a POST include a body.  Is it
> required to have a body?  Is it unreasonable to expect a client to issue 
> POST http://example.org/tokens
> ...and expect a token to be created, despite the fact that no representation
> is passed to the origin server?

Nothing is said in the description of POST re. creating anything. It says
"processed by the target resource". I can't conceive of why an empty
body would be an error. It is up to the processing resource to make that
determnation, not the HTTP protocol.

> Taking this a step further, is the use of query string parameters instead of
> a post body considered a valid request.  Could a client make the following
> request?
> POST http://mapservice.org/Waypoints?latitude=51&longiitude=114

Perhaps not common usage when combined with an empty body, but from a
protocol perspective, the query string parameters are just part of
the URL. I've worked with a number of platforms over the years which
make it easy to just treat query string name value pairs and name
value pairs in the POST body as a single name space such that the
resource processing logic author need not care how the values were

In some cases, I had to look hard to determine how a value was

But I don't see any protocol issue with the above URL.

> I realize this is not a common usage, but my question is whether this is
> prohibited by the HTTP specification, whether it is discouraged due to
> negative impacts, or whether it a reasonable usage that is just not clear
> from the description of POST.
> Thanks for your time,
> Darrel Miller
> [1] http://tools.ietf.org/html/draft-ietf-httpbis-p2-semantics-11#page-17
Received on Thursday, 2 September 2010 20:49:41 UTC

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