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Re: Review of new HTTPbis text for 303 See Other

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Jul 2009 16:16:06 -0700
Message-Id: <D1FD4507-213A-43A4-9B6C-36CABE4B6DBE@gbiv.com>
Cc: HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>, www-tag@w3.org
To: J Ross Nicoll <jrn@jrn.me.uk>
On Jul 9, 2009, at 6:17 AM, J Ross Nicoll wrote:

> Roy T. Fielding wrote:
>>> That just seems plain false. A 303 does not indicate that something
>>> does not exist. It simply indicates that the server, for reasons  
>>> which
>>> may be entirely opaque and nobody is under any obligation to  
>>> explain,
>>> has decided to redirect the query elsewhere.
>> No, we have other redirect codes for that.
> As I understand it, 301 (moved permanently), 302 (found) and 307 (not
> modified) all indicate a different location for the resource, never  
> for
> an alternative to it. 304 is "Not modified", and 305/6 are
> deprecated/reserved respectively. So, I don't think there is any other
> redirect code for "Instead of the resource you requested, please see
> this resource instead"...

The only reason for a server to say "see this other resource
instead" to a GET request is that the person who configured
the server knows that this other resource is not the same as
the requested resource (i.e., not a 301/302/307) and yet wants
the client directed to that resource because it is more responsive
to the client's request than responding with a 404 or 410.

The only way a server can be responsive to the client's original
GET request (i.e., not broken or lying) is if the 303 response
points to a resource that describes the originally requested
resource.  Any other result would be pointlessly random, which
would be silly because 302 is already provided for pointlessly
random redirects.

Received on Thursday, 9 July 2009 23:16:29 UTC

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