Re: Byte ranges -- formal spec proposal

John Franks (
Wed, 17 May 1995 20:11:44 -0500 (CDT)

From: John Franks <>
Message-Id: <>
Subject: Re: Byte ranges -- formal spec proposal
To: (Chuck Shotton)
Date: Wed, 17 May 1995 20:11:44 -0500 (CDT)
In-Reply-To: <v0211010cabe039a4cfb0@[]> from "Chuck Shotton" at May 17, 95 06:47:49 pm

According to Chuck Shotton:
> >Description of the byterange URL Parameter
> >
> >     * The byte range request is attached to the end of the URL,
> >       separated by a semi-colon.
> Why not use the already supported "?" separator? Many file systems use the
> semi-colon character to represent version numbers and overloading this
> character could cause difficulties. In effect, you are asking the server to
> "search" for a specific byte range in a document anyway, so it's not too
> big of a stretch to adopt the "?" safe character instead of risking
> possible conflicts with ";".

I see a potential problem with using '?' because it is already used
for forms.  What happens if someone has a form with a field named
"byterange"?  We are better off having the name space for form fields
separate from that of URL parameters.

> Please. Let's not expand on this. It forces servers to have a much more
> intimate knowledge of the content they serve than is necessary. Let's
> define how byte ranges work and leave the nasty WWW object model for
> another day and another syntax.

I generally agree with this, though I might not have put it so strongly.
On the other hand it is fine for servers to implement server specific 
parameters with special meaning for that server.  There are a number of
such in the server that I wrote.  If, as in the case of byterange, it
turns out that several implementors want the same functionality it makes
sense to try to standardize.

John Franks