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Powering the Web with HTTP : Comments

By Jonathan Snook

June 28, 2005



June 28, 2005 1:02 AM

It should be pointed out that that Host header is required for HTTP/1.1 and omitting it means a malformed request, which should be answered by the server with a 400 status.

Very nice article though, and I think the only thing missing from this basic overview are the status categories 1xx, 2xx, 3xx, 4xx, and 5xx.

Not so basic, but nonetheless very interesting, are the capabilities of the Accept and Accept-Language headers, and to a lesser extent the Accept-Encoding header.

Yannick L.

June 28, 2005 7:22 AM

Interesting article. I never knew some of this stuff. Thanks.

Chris Johnson

June 28, 2005 7:48 AM

Very well informed article. Helped me learn a few new things about how headers operate in what I do on the web.


Lance E. Leonard

June 28, 2005 7:53 AM

I’m amazed at how many developers I’ve worked with that came out of windows app world that just don’t understand HTTP. It makes troubleshooting very very difficult. Thank you for a decent article that I can reference.

Justin P.

June 28, 2005 9:53 AM

Once you learn the protocol, it’s fun (in the geek sense) to open up your favorite shell and use telnet to run raw HTTP requests (or SMTP, FTP, etc..). This is also very handy for troubleshooting a server problem when a simple ping does not answer your questions.

For Windows users, there is this program called Sam Spade. I’ve been using it for years to dig up whois information, run pings, traceroutes and raw HTTP requests (where you get to see the client/server headers). They used to have a web-based version of this tool, but it no longer seems to be working.

This would be an interesting article to make into a series and give some good resources for those who want to learn more (one resource and it’s the W3C spec? I think a Google search would have been a better resource).

Douglas Clifton

June 28, 2005 11:42 AM

I call HTTP, the URI and HTML/XHTML the “holy trinity” of Web development. Understanding them is critical. Tim Berners-Lee considers the URI the most important, followed by HTTP and markup. I tend to think HTTP is the most important, but Sir Tim is, well, the man so…

For your readers that want another overview on this topic, and perhaps a slightly different perspective, they can check out my piece The HTTP Protocol, which forms the opening article of a much large series on developing Web sites using XHTML and PHP.

As far as resources go, I can’t help it but plug my site once again, since I have something else the readers should find interesting. Check out the drx (Developers Resource Index) category on HTTP.

Nice work Jonathan, I’ll be sure to check back as you add more to your column on Web programming. Welcome aboard DWM! -doug


June 30, 2005 9:11 AM

There’s another usefull debuggin tool called Fiddler for IE. It allows you to add break points and custom scripts for debugging.


July 1, 2005 9:58 AM

Great article! I just read the article and it

Steve Graham

July 5, 2005 7:42 AM

Thank you for an informative article – I don’t know a lot about this subject, so this was helpful. Like Justin P. I think this would make a great series.

Thanks again,

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