[Gen-art] Telechat Review of draft-ietf-httpauth-extension-08

Matt Miller <mamille2@cisco.com> Thu, 01 September 2016 02:16 UTC

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To: draft-ietf-httpauth-extension.all@ietf.org, gen-art@ietf.org
From: Matt Miller <mamille2@cisco.com>
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Subject: [Gen-art] Telechat Review of draft-ietf-httpauth-extension-08
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I am the assigned Gen-ART reviewer for this draft. The General Area
Review Team (Gen-ART) reviews all IETF documents being processed
by the IESG for the IETF Chair.  Please treat these comments just
like any other last call comments.

For more information, please see the FAQ at

< http://wiki.tools.ietf.org/area/gen/trac/wiki/GenArtfaq >.

Document: draft-ietf-httpauth-extension-08
Reviewer: Matthew A. Miller
Review Date: 2016-08-31
IETF LC End Date: 2016-08-26
IESG Telechat date: 2016-09-01


This document is almost ready for publication as an Experimental
RFC, once the minor and editorial issues are addressed.

Major issues:


Minor issues:

* There is at least a couple of mentions of the
"Authentication-Info" header, but no reference to RFC 7615 in which
it is defined.  I think an informational reference is warranted

* Just reading sections 4.5. "Location-when-logout parameter" and
4.6. "Logout-timeout parameter", it is unclear how these are meant
to interact to inform a client the user's authentication session.
Frankly, I think the text in section 4.5 is too vague about how
a client can detect termination of a user's authenticated session,
and could use more of a hint on how "logout-timeout" is involved
to accomplish it. At the least, I think both sections 4.5. and
4.6. need pointers to section 5. to help readers get a
sense of how to apply them.

* In section 4.7. "Username parameter", I think there should be
an explicit pointer to the Security Considerations to warn about
potential issues this parameter presents.  I also recommend
separating that portion of the Security Considerations about
"username" into its own subsection to make such a callout

* Since this document is acknowledging that cookies are used for
authentication, and

Nits/editorial comments:

* In section 2.1. "Terms for describing authentication protocol
flow", the word "distinguishable" should instead be "distinguished"
in the phrase "it can't be distinguishable from a non-authenticated

* In section 3. "Optional Authentication", the word "be" is missing
in "Optional-WWW-Authenticate header MUST NOT sent on 401

* In section 3.1. "Note on Optional-WWW-Authenticate and use of
WWW-Authenticate header with non-401 status", the word "is" should
be replaced with "are" in the phrase "clients which is unaware of
this extension will ignore the header".

* Also in section 3.1., the word "authentications" should be
"authentication" in the phrase "secondary fallback method of

* Also in section 3.1., the word "ignores" should be "ignore" in
the phrase "just ignores the WWW-Authenticate headers".

* Also in section 3.1., all instances of the word "implementer"
should be replaced with "implementers" in the phrase "the authors
propose implementer of the standard HTTP/1.1 specification
(especially implementer of this extension)".

* In section 4. "Authentication-Control header", the word "an"
should be "a" in the phrase "and MUST be sent in an plain".

* In section 4.1. "Non-ASCII extended header parameters", the
interoperability note as a number of grammatical challenges.
I believe the following addresses the grammar issues while
retaining its meaning:

    Interoperability note: [RFC7235], Section 2.2, defines the "realm"
    authentication parameter which cannot be replaced by the "realm*"
    extend parameter.  It means that the use of non-ASCII values for an
    authentication realm is not the defined behavior in HTTP.
    Unfortunately, some people currently use a non-ASCII realm parameter
    in reality, but even its encoding scheme is not well-defined.
    Given this background, this document does not specify how to handle
    a non-ASCII "realm" parameter in the extended header fields.  If
    needed, the authors propose to use a non-extended "realm" parameter
    form, with a wish for maximum interoperability.

* In section 4.2. "Auth-style parameter", the word "preferences"
should be replaced with "preference" in the phrase "server's
preferences for user interface behavior".

* In section .4.4. "No-auth parameter", the word "authentications"
should be replaced with "authentication" in the phrase "content is
desired before authentications".

* In section 4.6. "Logout-timeout parameter", the word "from" should
be removed in the phrase "has passed since from the time this header
was received".

* In section 5.3. "When to use Cookies", the first sentence has some
grammatical challenges, which I believe the following text addresses:

    In current Web sites using form-based authentication, Cookies
    [RFC6265] are used for managing both authorization and
    application sessions.

* In section 5.4. "Parallel deployment with Form/Cookie
authentications", the META tag example should be "<META
http-equiv="refresh" ...>" instead of ">META http-equiv="refresh"

* In section 7. "IANA Considerations", the word "documents" should
be "document" in the phrase "a publicly-accessible documents".