Re: Interesting page headers (Was: [blogite] Before we update the spec...)

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From: Ian Hickson (
Date: Wed Sep 11 2002 - 11:46:54 BST

On Wed, 11 Sep 2002, Aquarion wrote:
> I'm against adding arbitrary information to http headers, because it
> follows a trend I'm directly opposed to, and one that - if followed -
> would negate all those advantages. Pingback is, from my perspective,
> something to do with the content of a page, rather than the serving of
> the page itself.

I don't understand this. What trend? What advantages does it negate? The
HTTP headers are exactly where you put metadata ("something to do with the
content of the page") rather than content itself, which belongs _in_ the
page. In fact, X-Pingback is metametadata, and as such I don't really see
that it belongs in the page at _all_. The only reason I support leaving
the <link> element there is to support systems that can't get to HTTP
headers (either to process them or to add them).

> Secondly, from my perspective it is pointless. Yes, grabbing the head is
> faster, but not enough to justify it.

Don't grab the head. Grab the entire thing, but drop the connection as
soon as you've got the HTTP header.

> My problem with the header is that the advantages it brings do not
> outweigh the disadvantages, which is that if I try to take advantage
> of the advantages, it makes the "standard" method take longer, and
> that it involves playing with either headers or server configs,
> neither of which an ordinary web-page should have to do.

Again, I don't follow this. What disadvantages? Taking into account
X-Pingback is positively _trivial_. Adding an X-Pingback header is the
hardest part, in fact, not handling it -- and that's why I support leaving
<link> in as a secondary mechanism, for those people who can't add
headers. (And df you use Apache and have access to change the
configuration (either through .htaccess or httpd.conf) then it's a one
line change. I imagine other web servers don't make this much harder. So
it's only hard for people who have unconfigurable hosts.)

Ian Hickson                                      )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
"meow"                                          /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.                         `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
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