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HTTP Entities, Transfers, Coding Methods and Content Management
message headers are very important, because
they are the mechanism that HTTP uses to allow devices to specify the
details of client requests and server responses. These headers, however,
are only the means to an end, which is the transfer of resources such
as files, form input and program output from one device to another.
When a resource is carried in the body of an HTTP message, it is called
an entity. HTTP defines special rules for how these entities
are identified, encoded and transferred.
In this section, I take a detailed
look at how HTTP handles entities. I begin with a discussion of entities
in general terms, and a look at how their contents are identified; this
includes an examination of the relationship between HTTP and MIME. I
discuss the issues behind the transfer of entities between clients and
servers, and the difference between content encodings and transfer encodings.
I describe the special issues associated with identifying the length
of entities in HTTP messages, and detail the special chunked
transfer coding and message trailers. Finally, I describe the methods
by which devices can perform content negotiation, and how quality values
allow clients to intelligently select different variations of a resource.
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The TCP/IP Guide (http://www.TCPIPGuide.com)
Version 3.0 - Version Date: September 20, 2005
© Copyright 2001-2005 Charles M. Kozierok. All Rights Reserved.
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