W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-dist-auth@w3.org > October to December 1996

Re: POST vs. separate methods

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Tue, 29 Oct 1996 10:40:47 PST
To: gjw@wnetc.com
CC: ejw@kleber.ics.uci.edu, w3c-dist-auth@w3.org
Message-Id: <96Oct29.114047pdt."415911"@mule.parc.xerox.com>
> I like the idea of placing the burden on the update method (this sounds a
> lot like write-through) but I don't see how this method can guarantee that
> a returned entity is up to date. The most obvious problem is that an update
> can traverse an entirely different set of caches than a previous GET, thus
> allowing for the possibility that some caches would not yet be aware that
> its cache entry for the resource is stale. Of course, it everything works
> fine as long as both paths hit the same cache at some point.

There's both a previous GET and a subsequent one:

    GET a / modify b / GET a

where the first & second GET use the same cache but the Modify uses a
different cache. In such a situation, the cache used by GET has to
know to revalidate for the second one: it either has to revalidate
every time or else somehow be notified. I can't think of any way
around this situation.

I think this could be handled by adding a requirement on HTTP clients
(or intermediate proxies in a chain) that switch between proxies:

If the client(proxy) has performed an UPDATE on a given URL, and then
switches to a different (subsequent) proxy, the client should include
in each request to any potentially affected URLs a 'max-age' which is
less than the time since the last UPDATE.

The simplest way to implement this is just use 'time the proxy server
changed', and the next simpler is just to remember, for each host, the
time since the last update method to that host. Of course,
finer-grained information can be kept.

This still puts the implementation burden on 'caches that can switch
proxy servers', which is probably where it belongs.

Received on Tuesday, 29 October 1996 18:53:52 UTC

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