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Subject Re: meta-data
Date Wed, 11 Aug 2004 14:42:35 GMT
> At the moment, I've focused only on the *configurable* metadata.  The
> stuff that apache handles automatically behind the scenes is certainly
> relevant to some people (like browser designers), but I don't think it 
> relevant to the average reader.

I would like your document to just list which headers Apache might
sent, depending on which configuration is being used. That's what
I tried to add to your version. (Am I not your target group?)

Perhaps I want to keep the created HTTP headers as small as possible
(think performance or security) without violating the standard; for this
I'd like to have a checklist what to look at, and this might well be your
document, then including "side effect headers" as well.

Or perhaps I want to have a clue which information I can get from
looking at the HTTP headers, as to get additional help (beyond the
usual log files) in certain situations. I just happen to look at the
HTTP headers ( in
many situations when I have to track down certain problems; your
document might encourage Apache admins to do the same. (I'm not
too sure each and every web space provider has read the RFC2616...)

> What I should do is add a prominent link to section 14 of the HTTP/1.1
> spec.

Yep, at least one - maybe one for each header you mention.
I don't want this document to explain HTTP - just list which HTTP
headers will be sent, and maybe link to the specification chapters
that might be interesting to read (that's why I listed them as well).

> 2. Protocol issues (Connection, etc).  Again, this can be understood
> simply by reading the spec for those who need that knowledge.

I agree. I only wanted some link(s) to these documents, as to have
everything accessible from this one place. One only needs certain
sections of the RFC to understand Apache HTTP header output, not
all 176 pages of it...
And the HTML version of the RFC on contains further
links if necessary, that's why I'd prefer deep links here.

> Apache sends Vary in a bunch of different circumstances -- I hope
> everywhere where it is required by HTTP/1.1.  If additional docs are
> needed, I think they should go in the content-negotiation docs.

And a reference to this doc inside your new one?

> The only ones of those that are really user-configurable are Server
> and Via.  The rest are just handled according to the spec internally
> by Apache, and I don't want to document HTTP/1.1 when there is a
> perfectly  good doc already.

The RFC 2616 doesn't tell me which Apache configuration directive
might cause which header to be sent; your document might do so.
You already mentioned  some headers (like "Cache-Control" and
"Expires") explicitly while you didn't mention others (like
"Last-Modified" or "Vary") that I consider closely related.
(I don't think I missed too many headers, so your document
wouldn't grow to twice its original size...)
I agree that explaining "Vary:" should be done in the negotiation
documentation (which itself should link to mod_deflate, for example);
I just missed the name of the header (and the link to that file on it).

>> What about explicitly naming the "HTTP response headers" for what
>> they are? After all, we are talking about a HTTP server...
> Not a bad idea.  Do you think that would be clearer to the newcomer
> than Response Metadata, or does it just assume that the person
> already knows  what response headers are used for?

Why use a new name for something that already has one given
by some official specification? It would only make me wonder
whether "response metadata" and "HTTP headers" are the same
thing or not.

But as you are going to include a reference to RFC 2616 anyway
you will surely explain that these metadata are a subset of the
HTTP headers specified in that RFC, so this will make it clear for
the reader.

Regards, Michael


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