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Hypertext Transfer Protocol

The HTTP/1.0 protocol [2] was designed for transfer of hypertext and multimedia files from a server to a web browser and, to a lesser extent, transfer of data from a web browser to a web server. HTTP/1.0 specifies a GET operation that transfers a file from a server to the browser. It also defines a POST operation which is designed for annotations, posting messages, submitting form contents, and appending entries to databases. This POST operation may be extended beyond its intended use to allow FTP-like transfer of files from the client to the server. HTTP/1.0 also provides a weak challenge-response authentication protocol (WWW-Authenticate) that requires that passwords be sent in clear text over the network.

The newer HTTP/1.1 protocol [4] introduces a new PUT operation that is designed for transfer and storage of an enclosed file from the client to the server, and a DELETE operation that requests that a file on the server be removed. It also introduces the notion of persistent HTTP connections and other mechanisms that improve efficiency. HTTP/1.1 provides another weak challenge-response protocol (Digest) that does not require clear text passwords [5]. In sum, HTTP/1.1 provides a more reasonable model for a file system than HTTP/1.0, although it is not widely deployed among today's web servers.

Michael John Radwin
Thu May 8 10:49:26 EDT 1997