Content-length header (was Re: request for new forms...)

Keith Moore <>
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From: Keith Moore <>
Subject: Content-length header (was Re: request for new forms...)
In-reply-to: Your message of "Mon, 11 Oct 1993 10:53:43 CDT."
Date: Tue, 12 Oct 1993 14:03:28 -0400
Tony Sanders writes...

> As you know I'm for just using the POST method.  See example below of how
> I think this should work.
> Example form:
>     <FORM ACTION="">
>     <INPUT NAME="name">
>     </FORM>
> Client:
>     POST /hyplan/sanders.html HTTP/1.0
>     Content-Length: 13
>     MIME-Version: 1.0
>     Content-type: www/form


I know HTTP isn't SMTP, but I feel compelled to point out that the
Content-Length header is not blessed by any standard.  In fact, there is no
definition.  The MIME working group explicitly decided NOT to include such a
header in MIME, because it could not be made to work correctly over the
variety of mail transports in existance.

(The current popular use of Content-Length in RFC 822 based email is both
nonstandard and hazardous.  At best it is useless information.)

You could call this use of Content-Length a part of the HTTP protocol, but I
believe it will confuse the issue to use Content-Length in this manner.  It
looks too much like a email header, and I fear this usage will only add to
the confusion.