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Subject: RE: Conent length with MIME header


There are a couple of factors to consider wrt Content-Length:

The HTTP 1.1 spec (rfc 2616) states:

In section 4.4:

  "For compatibility with HTTP/1.0 applications, HTTP/1.1 requests
   containing a message-body MUST include a valid Content-Length header
   field unless the server is known to be HTTP/1.1 compliant. If a
   request contains a message-body and a Content-Length is not given,
   the server SHOULD respond with 400 (bad request) if it cannot
   determine the length of the message, or with 411 (length required) if
   it wishes to insist on receiving a valid Content-Length."

Then again in section 14.13:

   "In HTTP, it SHOULD be sent whenever the message's length can be
    determined prior to being transferred, unless this is prohibited
    by the rules in section 4.4."

IF ebXML mandates that only HTTP 1.1 servers are supported then we could
eliminate the Content-Length, BUT...

Another use for the Content-Length header is to allow an E-Commerce site
administrator the ability to "block" large file transfers. Without a
content-length header you cannot determine the size of a message until its
been received in its entirety.  Content-Length also provides an elegant way
to check if there is enough available disk space before attempting to save
the contents on disk.

In summary, the content-length gives system implementers a way to
efficiently stop processing data that exceeds a size threshold BEFORE
consuming system resources, including all available disk space (which could
render an E-Commerce server unusable).  I do see your point about it being
non-MIME-standard, perhaps it would make more sense to remove it from the
"message envelope" specification but include it in the HTTP transport

Your thoughts on this?

Wish I was in Tokyo to partake in all the fun - looking forward to seeing
you in Vancouver.

Dick Brooks
Group 8760
110 12th Street North
Birmingham, AL 35203
Fax: 205-250-8057

InsideAgent - Empowering e-commerce solutions

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Burdett, David [mailto:david.burdett@commerceone.com]
> Sent: Monday, November 06, 2000 3:54 PM
> To: Dick Brooks (E-mail); ebXML Transport (E-mail)
> Subject: Conent length with MIME header
> Dick
> In the TRP meeting today there was a debate over content-length
> in the MIME
> header. The general conclusion was that we did not want to
> include it as it
> was a non-standard MIME header and various members of the POC
> group thought
> that we would be better of without it.
> We really need your feedback on why keeping it is a good idea. We
> also need
> to finalize this and would like to do this during the conference
> call to be
> held on 16th November.
> David
> Product Management, CommerceOne
> 4400 Rosewood Drive 3rd Fl, Bldg 4, Pleasanton, CA 94588, USA
> Tel: +1 (925) 520 4422 (also voicemail); Pager: +1 (888) 936 9599
> mailto:david.burdett@commerceone.com; Web: http://www.commerceone.com

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