Re: CERN httpd and libwww 2.14 released (Ari Luotonen)
From: (Ari Luotonen)
Date: Wed, 17 Nov 93 21:21:05 +0100
Message-id: <>
Subject: Re: CERN httpd and libwww 2.14 released

> For simple scripts, escaping and parsing is what you want and it
> does make sense.  For complex scripts, you really want the server
> to touch the URL as little as possible.  It doesn't know what your
> escaping scheme is and it shouldn't know because your script will
> have to be responsible for escaping URLs in the HTML output.
> Moreover, your escaping scheme may not be the "standard" one
> (for http: scheme URLs, there's no requirement you use % hex escapes).
> I often do escaping which keeps the URLs smaller and more human
> decodable (e.g., translating ' ' -> '_').

??? I thought HTTP doc specifies how to escape illegal characters
in URL?

Tony's private message, however, pointed out that in future my current
_parsing_ scheme can lose information.  I still would like casual
script programmers have a very clear and easy interface that is not
burdened with the ability of coping every possible future feature.

So what I was thinking of just this afternoon was that the _script_
should be able to request the server to call it in the way it (script)
wants, and not vice versa.  This could be done e.g. by filename extensions.
This way the script could, at it's own will, be called with raw URL,
or with pre-parsed URL (which is very nice for 90% of the cases).
Script could also ask URL to be passed to it from stdin instead of
command line.

By the way, I must admit I was very busy with AA when the original
/htbin discussion went on.  Was there a strong opposition to having
scripts just anywhere and not only in bindir directory;  and was there
any reason for having the URL start with /htbin/ (I know that can
be configured for NCSA server, but it is still constant once it's

I've been thinking of having an exec rule that would, when URL
matches a given template, execute a given script.  Just for
an example current htbin field in our rule file:

	htbin /x/y/z

(which gives the physical bindirectory to CERN daemon) could be
expressed as:

	exec  /htbin/*  /x/y/z/*

This would free us from /htbin/ being translated specially in URL,
and would introduce more flexibility and power to scripts.

-- Cheers, Ari --