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Re: UA norm for redirects (both META and http)

From: Robert J Burns <rob@robburns.com>
Date: Fri, 30 May 2008 09:24:08 +0000
Cc: Justin James <j_james@mindspring.com>, 'Thomas Broyer' <t.broyer@gmail.com>, public-html@w3.org
Message-Id: <E7A80A91-8C85-421C-938D-955B36AB65A5@robburns.com>
To: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>
HI Julian, Justin and Thomas,

On May 30, 2008, at 7:27 AM, Julian Reschke wrote:

> Justin James wrote:
>> The issues that the original request attempts to address, in terms  
>> of how browsers handle the redirect. Basically, my suspicion is  
>> that application developers don't realize that multiple HTTP status  
>> codes can produce a redirect, and they may have a redirect reason  
>> or two that the existing status codes don't cover. What I see is  
>> that developers tend to use 302 (Moved) which is rarely the correct  
>> status code for what they are trying to accomplish. So between  
>> developers frequently operating in a state of ignorance, and the  
>> HTTP spec not fully meeting their needs (although experience shows  
>> that few would use the needed feature if they were added anyways),  
>> we have a scenario where the browser's behavior is often not ideal.
> That may all be true, but I'm not sure how this is HTTP's problem.
> HTTP basically distinguishes "moved temporarily" and "moved  
> permanently". Are you looking for more detail? What? And what would  
> a UA do with it?

Thanks for the input on this. I changed the wiki page[1] so that it  
only concerns 301 (permanently moved) redirects[2]. The motivation  
behind the proposal is to advise UAs to treat the 301s and the META  
redirect consistently and in an interoperable manner that authors (and  
users) can count on.

On the issue of authoring misuse of 301s, is there some other litmus  
test we can apply (such as consistent response headers) that could  
help identify these misused 301s? If not, my inclination would be to  
simply treat all of the 301s the same along with 0 timeout META  
redirects (with perhaps the exception of handling some differences for  
extended redirect timeouts, as Boris suggested).

Take care,

[1]  <http://esw.w3.org/topic/HTML/RedirectNorm>
[1]: <HTTP/1.1 section 10.3 Redirection 3xx>
Received on Friday, 30 May 2008 09:41:05 UTC

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