Re: [Ietf-message-headers] Provisional registration of 5 X-Device-* HTTP Header fields for use in content transformation guidelines

Francois Daoust <fd@w3.org> Thu, 13 August 2009 08:43 UTC

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Date: Thu, 13 Aug 2009 09:57:58 +0200
From: Francois Daoust <fd@w3.org>
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Cc: Graham Klyne <GK@ninebynine.org>, ietf-message-headers@ietf.org
Subject: Re: [Ietf-message-headers] Provisional registration of 5 X-Device-* HTTP Header fields for use in content transformation guidelines
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SM wrote:
> Hi Francois,
> At 09:31 04-08-2009, Francois Daoust wrote:
>> At this point, the working group agrees on having one convention among 
>> the existing ones, which unfortunately all start with "X-". But the 
>> working group does not agree to do away with the "X-" not to introduce 
>> any kind of new notation. If you're fine with it, the group would thus 
>> like to proceed only with the registration of the "X-" versions of the 
>> HTTP header fields.
> 
> The alternatives are:
> 
>   (i) Reject the request as "X-" message header fields names are 
> generally not registered in the provisional and permanent Message Header 
> Fields registries given that "X-" message header field names are 
> reserved for private use.
> 
>  (ii) Accept the request for the registration of the five "X-Device-*" 
> message header fields in the provisional Message Header Field Names 
> registry with a "depreciated" status.
> 
> There aren't any "X-" headers in the Permanent Message Header Field 
> Names registry.  As the working group does not agree to do away with the 
> "X-", there may be a request to register the five "X-Device-*" message 
> header fields as permanent Message Header field names.  I suggest using 
> the first alternative as the working group does not plan to obsolete the 
> five "X-Device-*" HTTP Header fields.

I'm not sure I understand why you directly jump to deprecated at this step.

I thought the purpose of the provisional registry was to reserve names 
while the underlying specification matures along the standard-track. The 
underlying specification is not definitive, and there will be at least 
one other Last Call working draft period during which the working group 
expects to receive external comments both on the choice of names and the 
usefulness of these HTTP header fields.

The intent of the working group is indeed to send a request to register 
the header fields in the permanent registry when (and if) the 
specification reaches a more stable level.

The use of the "X-" prefix has been extensively discussed both formally 
within the group and informally with some IETF contributors. The fact 
that companies use private "X-" header field names on a public level is 
a pity, but it is unfortunately common practice within mobile networks. 
We are trying to move away from a situation where there exist 5 
different sets of "X-" header field names to a situation where there's 
only one. Mobile content developers complain about the existence of 
these different sets that were imposed on them. They do not want to hear 
about a new one, introduced for the sake of removing the "X-" prefix, in 
particular if that means they would still have to be prepared to receive 
the "X-" form and the non "X-" during the transition period.

That is the reason why the mobile web best practices working group 
thinks it is reasonable to bend the naming rule here. We are not aware 
of any real difference between "X-" header fields and regular non "X-" 
ones, apart from their intended use.

Regards,
Francois.


> 
> Regards,
> -sm
>