Re: CGI spec revisited

Marc Hedlund (
Fri, 28 Apr 1995 23:54:45 +0500

Paul Phillips writes:
>If the docs at hoohoo are indeed the definitive CGI spec [...]

They are, as far as I know.

>[...] would the NCSA
>people please start a CGI 1.2 or something before adding more variables?
>HTML and HTTP are splintering enough without CGI joining them.

:) Too late. NCSA can add all the variables they like, as far as I'm
concerned, as long as they're passed to the script with the HTTP_ prefix.

Is there any interest for a new look at the CGI spec? I don't just mean at

A few issues to kick around:

* I like NCSA's DOCUMENT_ROOT idea (which Paul mentions). A number of
people have bitched about not being able to reliably determine the document
root or server root across a variety of servers without asking for help
from the humans.

* Is there any consensus about what should happen to POSTed data if the
client receives a redirect? I remember reading somewhere that POSTs get
turned into GETs if redirected; and a couple of browsers mangle POSTs into
PATH_INFO (!?!) if passed through a proxy, as I recall. Why, I ask you,
why? Shouldn't POSTs stay POSTs?

* A couple of people have suggested to me hashing out the horrible ACCEPT
issue in a new CGI spec. I'm not fond of that idea; I think that's an
HTTP-wg problem. However, maybe something could be done to improve the
amount of information scripts receive from the client, apart from MIME-type
content negotiation. If a server and a client are negotiating directly,
the HTTP spec would govern; if a gateway stands between the two, content
negotiation can also include the following.... etc.

I'm just kicking around some poorly-thought-out ideas in hopes an argument
will start, which might then produce action.

Marc Hedlund <>

[In SF for the week; responses may be slower than usual.]