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structured headers "why not JSON" FAQ

From: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
Date: Wed, 13 Jun 2018 09:09:57 +0200
To: HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-ID: <9182eeca-9c00-ea55-8946-a6d5b47ab83f@gmx.de>
Hmmm. It's good to have a FAQ, but it shouldn't be misleading...

> A.1. Why Not JSON?
> 
> Earlier proposals for structured headers were based upon JSON [RFC8259], but failed to get traction for a variety of reasons, including:
> 
>     Interoperability issues (e.g., regarding large numbers and objects with duplicate members)

<https://greenbytes.de/tech/webdav/draft-reschke-http-jfv-08.html#interop>

>     Difficulties specifying field values using ABNF [RFC5234]

Please elaborate. What are the difficulties, and how is this different 
in structured headers?

>     Need to encode JSON to appear in HTTP headers, thereby making it not-JSON

Not true.

>     Reluctance to embed a JSON parser in some HTTP implementations (e.g., servers and intermediaries)

Well, there was also reluctance to add yet another parser, when JSON is 
already available. Just saying.

>     Concerns about JSON’s ability to nest to arbitrary depths, and the resulting memory commitment that might involve

If this is really a problem, a simple fix would be to restrict the size 
in characters, just as in structured headers. Exactly the same problem.

>     Feelings that JSON doesn’t “look right” in HTTP headers

True, it's not pretty.


Best regards, Julian
Received on Wednesday, 13 June 2018 07:10:23 UTC

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