URL ambiguity

kevin@scic.intel.com (Kevin Altis)
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Date: Fri, 17 Sep 1993 14:43:13 -0800
To: www-talk@nxoc01.cern.ch
From: kevin@scic.intel.com (Kevin Altis)
Subject: URL ambiguity
Status: RO
The following URL illustrates a problem with some Web servers and clients.


The directory "newton_info" contains a file called "index.html", which the
NCSA HTTP server looks for an serves back to the requesting client. So far
so good, but if the URL is changed to leave off the trailing slash


then the server will still return the "index.html" document, but now the
WWW client will think the path is "http://www.uth.tmc.edu/" not
"http://www.uth.tmc.edu/newton_info/". So, when a relative reference is
made from within the "index.html" document, something like <img
src="blah.gif">, the client will request "http://www.uth.tmc.edu/blah.gif"
instead of "http://www.uth.tmc.edu/newton_info/blah.gif" and the document
won't be found.

So a few questions come to mind. Do other servers have this same problem?
Should servers always require an explicit URL and not allow default
behavior such as displaying the file "index.html"? Should the URL syntax
require a "/" at the end of a directory name?