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bug#16220: url-http.el: Not conforming to HTTP spec


From: Jarosław Rzeszótko
Subject: bug#16220: url-http.el: Not conforming to HTTP spec
Date: Fri, 3 Jan 2014 19:06:22 +0100

I attach a patch that removes the extra "\r\n", adds a function to
merge two alists, and uses it to merge the extra-headers on top of the
default-headers. I added a few basic tests, too.

Cheers,
Jarosław Rzeszótko

2014/1/2 Stefan Monnier <address@hidden>:
>> The problem is that url-http.el sets a lot of headers by default that
>> can not be overwritten in any other way then dynamically overshadowing
>> some variables.
>
> Indeed, this is ugly.  Improvements welcome.
>
>> For example, all connections are keep-alive by
>> default, which is confusing in itself already,
>
> Not sure why it should be a problem.
>
>> (let ((url-request-method "GET")
>>       (url-request-extra-headers '(("Connection" . "close"))))
>>   (url-retrieve-synchronously "http://www.google.com/";))
>> And what is sent is this:
>> GET / HTTP/1.1
>> Connection: keep-alive
>> ...
>> Connection: close
>
>> Which again isn't valid HTTP and the behaviour of the HTTP server in
>> this case is undefined and implementation specific. The only way to
>> workaround this is doing this:
>
>> (let ((url-http-attempt-keepalives nil)
>>       (url-request-method "GET")
>>       (url-request-extra-headers '(("Connection" . "close"))))
>>   (url-retrieve-synchronously "http://www.google.com/";))
>
> Yuck!  We can probably fix this fairly easily by letting
> url-request-extra-headers override (rather than just add to)
> other headers.
>
>> This is all the more irritating so many of the headers are set by
>> default using the variables url-vars.el. Why those things are at all
>> variables is a mystery to me.
>
> Probably partly historical evolution (there was no place to add new
> "parameters", so adding dynamic vars was an easy way to add more control
> without breaking existing code).
>
>> In the end it is much easier to do HTTP requests manually using
>> make-network-process then it is with the url library,
>
> I think that's misleading: the URL library is supposed to deal with
> things like proxies and redirections, which "manual requests via
> make-network-process" probably won't handle.
>
>> Didn't anyone else run into problems with it?
>
> Apparently not yet.  But I agree that the API might deserve a redesign
> (IIRC another problem is in the way headers in the answer are returned
> to the caller, which does not work consistently across different kinds
> of URLs (ftp, http, file, imap, ...)).
>
>
>         Stefan

Attachment: url.patch
Description: Text Data


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