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HTTP Methods

From: Joe Gregorio <joe@bitworking.org>
Date: Tue, 24 Feb 2004 01:02:40 -0500
Message-ID: <403AE900.9050409@bitworking.org>
To: "'www-tag @ w3. org'" <www-tag@w3.org>

HTML is delivered over HTTP, and HTTP defines a
generic set of methods (GET, POST, PUT, DELETE, HEAD, OPTIONS, etc.)
that operate on resources. One of the deficiencies
of the HTML specification is that HTML forms
can only use two of the above methods (POST and GET),
and this has led to a rather myopic view of HTTP, wherein
GET and POST are considered normal and any of the other
HTTP methods are considered esoteric and even dangerous.

This wouldn't be much of an issue if it was confined
strictly to HTML, but the problem seems to be spreading.
First there is XForms, a very recent spec from the W3C
which does not support any methods besides GET, POST and PUT.
Now, as the Atom[2] development process goes forward, it appears
that the same narrow view of HTTP is being hard-coded into
libraries[1], thus handicapping any new projects that
want to use the full complement of methods.
Bill de hÓra has posted similar thoughts on this
subject[3], and along similar lines there is
an independent effort to address these problems
with forms that allows any HTTP method to be used[5].

As reference material this page[4] contains a summary at the end
of currently known tools and their support for
methods besides GET and POST. I am aware that the TAG
has addressed the specific case of GET and POST, particularly
in the context of XForms[6], and is looking at PUT[7], but
the latter issue seems tied to content type and doesn't
address other methods.

Am I being overly alarmist that we're slipping
into a two-methods-only-web, or is this a legitimate problem?


[1] http://www.imc.org/atom-syntax/mail-archive/msg02789.html
[2] http://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/FrontPage
[3] http://www.dehora.net/journal/archives/000371.html
[4] http://www.intertwingly.net/wiki/pie/CarrotVsOrange
[5] http://www.hixie.ch/specs/html/forms/web-forms
[6] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/doc/whenToUseGet.html
[7] http://www.w3.org/2001/tag/issues.html#putMediaType-38

Received on Tuesday, 24 February 2004 01:02:50 UTC

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