HTTP/1.1 just got a major update

HTTP/1.1 just got a major update – somehow I missed this last month.

The IETF just published several new RFCs that update HTTP/1.1:

These documents make the original specification for HTTP/1.1 obsolete. As a HTTP geek, this is a big deal.

RFC 2616, which was written more than 15 years ago, was the specification everybody has implemented, and I suspect many of you occassionally have used as a reference.

RFC 6585 – Additional HTTP Status Codes

If you’ve missed it like I did, RFC 6885 has been published recently.  It introduces four additional status codes for the HTTP protocol.  The codes are:

  • 428 Precondition Required
  • 429 Too Many Requests
  • 431 Request Header Fields Too Large
  • 511 Network Authentication Required

Here is a blog post that gives a nice summary of purpose for each of the new status codes.

RFC 2142 : Mailbox names for common services, roles and functions

I’ve always relied on my mail servers having a complete and correct /etc/aliases file with all the necessary aliases.  I never even thought about who puts them there and why.  It was just one of those many things that just work.  Today I discovered that there is actually an RFC 2142, which describes standard mailbox names for common services, roles, and functions.  Here is the abstract:

This specification enumerates and describes Internet mail addresses (mailbox name @ host reference) to be used when contacting personnel at an organization. Mailbox names are provided for both operations and business functions. Additional mailbox names and aliases are not prohibited, but organizations which support email exchanges with the Internet are encouraged to support AT LEAST each mailbox name for which the associated function exists within the organization.

RFC 1855 : Netiquette guidelines

More and more people spend more and more time online. I wish more and more of them read RFC 1855 which covers netiquette guidelines. This document is more than 10 years old, but most of the points that it discusses are as valid today as they were back then. Some are even more important today than they used to be. Another good thing about this RFC is that it has theoretical directions combined with some practical advice.

A good rule of thumb: Be conservative in what you send and liberal in what you receive. You should not send heated messages (we call these “flames”) even if you are provoked. On the other hand, you shouldn’t be surprised if you get flamed and it’s prudent not to respond to flames.

Reading this document won’t make you wise enough to avoid all the mistakes of online communications, but it can seriously minimize them.