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From "Roy T. Fielding" <>
Subject Re: HTTP Protocol question
Date Wed, 09 May 2001 20:38:23 GMT
On Tue, May 08, 2001 at 01:42:54PM -0400, Bill Stoddard wrote:
> Is it reasonable for a client that claims to support HTTP/1.0 to -require- a content
length header
> on all responses?  The client I am working with will discard a response if it does not
have a
> content-length header.  This doesn't sound reasonable to me as the server can signal
the end of the
> response by closing the connection.  Looking for the definitive answer before I tell
the client
> maker to fix their code.

A client can't claim to implement all of HTTP/1.0 (or HTTP/1.1) unless they
allow response messages without a content-length to be used.  However, it is
not unusual for a wireless device network to allow only a subset of HTTP/1.x
(which they can do because they are not on the Internet) and enable that
subset via gateway/proxy devices.

> Humm..... the client is a wireless device which brings up other issues that
> can muddy the picture, specifically issues with starting and maintaining TCP
> connections to wireless devices.  Looking for brain food here :-)

Most wireless devices (excluding 802.11b) do not use plain TCP.  Likewise,
HTTP is not restricted to plain TCP.  The best way to handle this is to use
some sort of multiplexing session protocol like SCP or MUX as the transport
for HTTP (just like SSL is a transport for HTTP).  In any case, such a
network requires a proxy/gateway between it and the real Internet.  If they
don't have that, then the device must play by Internet rules.


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