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From Oleg Kalnichevski <ol...@apache.org>
Subject Re: "<" character in a response header
Date Wed, 21 Mar 2007 22:23:25 GMT
Asankha C. Perera wrote:
> Hi
>
> Could anyone tell me if the "<" character is allowed in a http 
> response? According to 
> http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec6.html#sec6.2 I didn't 
> notice something like that..
>
> My problem is that if I try to add a response header that contains the 
> "<" character (say response.setHeader("lll", "hh<ff"); ) the output 
> gets garbled. i.e.
>
> HTTP/1.1 200 OK
> lll: hh<ffContent-Type: text/xml; charset=UTF-8Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 
> 19:31:06 GMTServer: Synapse-HttpComponents-NIOTransfer-Encoding: chunked
> 451
>
> vs
>
> HTTP/1.1 200 OK
> Content-Type: text/xml; charset=UTF-8
> Date: Wed, 21 Mar 2007 19:31:38 GMT
> Server: Synapse-HttpComponents-NIO
> Transfer-Encoding: chunked
>
> 450
>
> if that header with the "<" was not set. Could someone explain this to 
> me?
> thanks
> asankha
>
Asankha

HTTP header content may consist of "either *TEXT or combinations of 
token, separators, and quoted-string". [1] According to the basic rules 
[2] of the HTTP protocol character "<" is illegal for TEXT, but is 
allowed inside a quoted string as a quoted pair. So, to be valid 
according to the strict interpretation of the HTTP spec the header 
should look like

ll: "hh\<ff"

HttpCore is quite lenient about the format of HTTP headers and should be 
to parse ll: hh<ff just fine, but other HTTP clients may be a little 
pickier.

Hope this helps

Oleg

[1] http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec4.html#sec4.2
[2] http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec2.html#sec2.2

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