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   RE: [xml-dev] Generality of HTTP

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Mark Baker wrote,
> Miles Sabin wrote,
> > HTTP just wasn't designed for that kind of communication model.
> You'd be surprised.

I wouldn't. But it's one thing to say that HTTP, along with lots of 
supporting infrastructure, can do all sorts of interesting stuff, 
quite another to say that HTTP was designed for them or that it's 
optimal or even adequate.

> The architectural style used to craft HTTP is certainly capable of a 
> lot more than what HTTP can currently do. So you'd need extensions 
> for some things

Then it's not HTTP any more.

> (though not, I believe, for the example you describe above).

Disconnected operation (whether deliberate or accidental) and
endpoint mobility are the tricky cases. It can be done, but it's not
pretty. Other protocols (or hybrids, HTTP+SMTP to name only the most
obvious example) do a better job.

> Consider what might be possible with vanilla HTTP 1.1 and;
> - a web server near the user (such as in the browser, ala KnowNow)
> - intermediaries adding value with queueing, caching, filtering,
> routing, etc..

All sorts of things certainly. But I don't see how you get from there
to any kind of interesting or useful generality claim for HTTP. HTTP 
can be layered on top of SMTP, and IP can be layered on top of fleets
of carrier pigeons: does that mean that SMTP is more fundamental than
HTTP or pigeons more fundamental that IP?



Miles Sabin                                     InterX
Internet Systems Architect                      27 Great West Road
+44 (0)20 8817 4030                             Middx, TW8 9AS, UK
msabin@interx.com                               http://www.interx.com/


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