Re: Use of ";" in relative URLs: procedural issue?

Chris Newman (
Tue, 04 Feb 1997 10:19:44 -0800 (PST)

Date: Tue, 04 Feb 1997 10:19:44 -0800 (PST)
From: Chris Newman <>
Subject: Re: Use of ";" in relative URLs: procedural issue?
In-Reply-To: <>
To: IETF URI list <>
Message-Id: <>

On Mon, 3 Feb 1997, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> My opinion is that I would like to see a need for this change before
> trying to make it a standard.  In other words, I have yet to see a
> compelling application espoused that would require the use of unordered
> attribute-value pairs within a URL-using application, other than FORMs
> entry which already has a different syntax.  Combining that with the
> inability to use such a feature until all current software is upgraded,
> my current opinion is that we should not make the change.

Specific example: IMAP URLs.

Folder names in IMAP are hierarchical.  In addition, IMAP has the ability
to fetch messages and MIME parts of messages in a folder.  The basic
syntax for a section of a message is currently:

 imap://<hostport>/<folder-path>;UID=<message uid>;SECTION=1.2

Now if I take a relative URL of ";SECTION=1.3" to refer to a different
MIME section of the same message, the only reasonable resolution is:

 imap://<hostport>/<folder-path>;UID=<message uid>;SECTION=1.3

Note that having a "SECTION" without a "UID" is meaningless.  UID can't be
included in the folder-path because that would make it ambiguous since
folder-path can include "/".

Because IMAP support needs to be deployed before this URL scheme is  
implemented anyway, I simply wrote this in as an exception to the
current rules.  I don't like exceptions, but applying the current rules
results in nonsense.  Now if the rules were updated, the exception
wouldn't be necessary.