Re: Is this use of BASE kosher?

Peter K. Sheerin (
Thu, 3 Aug 95 13:53:52 EDT

> "Daniel W. Connolly" <>
> > The point is that you don't _need_ to retrieve a
> > representation of the resource identified by the base
> > URL: you've already got it!
> Not necessarily. Let's take the specific example that started this
> whole discussion. I will phrase it as an HTTP response so that we
> can assume we obtained the document as the result of retrieving the
> URI shown:
> 200 OK
> URI: <>
> Content-type: text/html
> <head>
> <base href="">
> </head>
> <a href="#Printers">Printers</a>
> ...
> <h3><a name="Printers">Printers</a></h3>
> It's true that *without* the <base> tag, the relative URL
> "#Printers" would resolve to
> "" according to the
> rules of RFC 1808. The entity corresponding to the URL
> "" would then (luckily!)
> already be in front of us, and the agent would merely need to scroll
> down to get "".
> However, *with* the <base> tag, the relative URL "#Printers"
> instead resolves to ""
> according to RFC 1808 (please read it). Thus, a correct user agent
> must retrieve the entity representing the URL
> "" and find *its* "Printers" fragment
> -- and we do not already have it in front of us.

Right on. Here's another example of the dillema we are faced with:

Same document as above, but with a BASE URL in the header that points to
the current document (

If I have saved this file to my local disk, severed my network
connection, and then try one of those stand-alone fragment identifier
links (which are meant by the author to point to the current document,
not another one), these links don't work, because instead of the browser
(Netscape in this case) jumping to that named section of the current
document, it appends that fragment to the BASE URL, discovers that the
implied BASE URL (the document's location on my disk) is different from
the header-specified BASE URL, decides the latter is correct, and tries
to go get *that* document. Since I no longer have access to the network,
it fails, without ever displaying that part of the document that I
actually do have access to. It's physically on my machine; why shouldn't
the browser just display it?

I think it boils down to if a stand-alone fragment identifier should ever
be intended or interpreted as referring to anything other than the
current document.

I say, in both cases, no.

We need to address this because the two biggest browser vendors have
interpreted this 180 degrees out of synch, and because it affects how all
of us write HTML documents, period.