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This document is a DRAFT specification of a protocol in use on the internet and to be proposed as an Internet standard. Discussion of this protocol takes place on the www-talk at info.cern.ch mailing list -- to subscribe mail to www-talk-request at info.cern.ch. Distribution of this memo is unlimited.
HTTP is a protocol with the lightness and speed necessary for a distributed collaborative hypermedia information system. It is a generic stateless object-oriented protocol, which may be used for many similar tasks such as name servers, and distributed object-oriented systems, by extending the commands, or "methods", used. A feature if HTTP is the negotiation of data representation, allowing systems to be built independently of the development of new advanced representations.
This HTTP protocol is an upgrade on the original protocol as implemented in the earliest WWW releases. It is back-compatible with that more limited protocol.
This specification includes the following parts:
The following notes form recommended practice not part of the specification:
Servers tolerating clients
Clients tolerating servers
When many sources of networked information are available to a reader, and when a discipline of reference between different sources exists, it is possible to rapidly follow references between units of information which are provided at different remote locations. As response times should ideally be of the order of 100ms in, for example, a hypertext jump, this requires a fast, stateless, information retrieval protocol.
Practical information systems require more functionality than simple retrieval, including search, front-end update and annotation. This protocol allows an open-ended set of methods to be used. It builds on the discipline of reference provided by the Universal Resource Identifier (URI) as a name (URN, RFCxxxx) or address (URL, RFCxxxx) allows the object of the method to be specified.
Reference is made to the Multipurpose Internet Mail Extensions (MIME, RFC1341) which are used to allow objects to be transmitted in an open variety of representations.
On the internet, the communication takes place over a TCP/IP connection. This does not preclude this protocol being implemented over any other protocol on the internet or other networks. In these cases, the mapping of the HTTP request and response structures onto the transport data units of the protocol in question is outside the scope of this specification. It should not however be at all complicated.
The protocol is basically stateless, a transaction consisting of