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From Erik Pearson <e...@adaptations.com>
Subject mod_jserv/4169: cookie expires attribute incorrectly formatted (see 3795)
Date Tue, 30 Mar 1999 18:14:18 GMT

>Number:         4169
>Category:       mod_jserv
>Synopsis:       cookie expires attribute incorrectly formatted (see 3795)
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       serious
>Priority:       medium
>Responsible:    jserv
>State:          open
>Class:          sw-bug
>Submitter-Id:   apache
>Arrival-Date:   Tue Mar 30 10:20:01 PST 1999
>Originator:     erik@adaptations.com
>Release:        1.0b3
Solaris 7, Sparc, Java 1.1.7B, Apache 1.3.4
The date format used for the 'expires' attribute of cookies is problematic.
The format used causes problems the Microsoft's IE (4, other version?) browser,
but not Netscape Navigator (4.5, other versions?).

As a reference for the correct implementation I use rfc822 and netscapes cookie
definition (which recognizes small changes from rfc822).

There are several problems, not all of which cause problems:

1. space between the = and the first character of the date string.
This is out of spec (there should be no spaces on either side of the =
in header attributes).

2. The day of week should be the short 3 character version.
This doesn't appear to affect browsers, but it seems unnecessary
to have a longer dow than is required (and it doesn't seem to be
required either, according to rfc822, although netscape doesn't
show it as optional.)

3. The year should be 4 digits.
Rfc822 says 2 digits, netscape redefines as 4 digits. This is the most
significant problem with IE. In order to provide a cookie deletion, jserv
uses Date(0), with the date format outputs as year "70". Unfortunately,
MSIE calls this 2070, Navigator 1970.

4. Hours are formatted from 1-24, not 0-23.
This is out of spec from rfc822

hour        =  2DIGIT ":" 2DIGIT [":" 2DIGIT]
; 00:00:00 - 23:59:59

This causes severe problems for IE if the hour 24 is used, which it is
in the rare case (but common for me!) of deleting a cookie, which again
uses Date(0), which the date format returns as hour "24". Basically, MSIE
goes whacko and gives a date far in the future (right now it is giving me
year 12577)

As you can see, the problems are limited to MSIE in my experience. However,
I don't think we can assume that they are limited solely to IE. The hour one-off
error affects all browsers.
Use MSIE 4 web browser.
Load page which is handled by a servlet.
The servlet adds a cookie.
Try an expiration of 0,
try an expiration of any other time.
IE reports a very strange time for expiration of 0,
IE is shows a GMT cookie expiration date which is one hour greater
than it should be.
Navigator handles the date format fine, although I've found that 
navigator's (4 and above, 3 seems ok) timezone conversion is very funky. 

    private static SimpleDateFormat cookieDate =
        new SimpleDateFormat(" EEEE, dd-MMM-yy kk:mm:ss zz", Locale.US );


    private static SimpleDateFormat cookieDate =
        new SimpleDateFormat("EEE, dd-MMM-yyyy HH:mm:ss zz", Locale.US );
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