I just extracted the change log (from page 157) of the latest
draft of HTTP/1.1 (see announcment note from 16 September 1998)
protocol spec. It's worth taking a few minutes to read over.
- Ira McDonald (High North)
[From 'draft-ietf-http-v11-spec-rev-05', 11 September 1998]
19.6.3 Changes from RFC 2068
This specification has been carefully audited to correct and
disambiguate key word usage; RFC 2068 had many problems in respect to
the conventions laid out in RFC 2119 .
Clarified which error code should be used for inbound server failures
(e.g. DNS failures). (Section 10.5.5)
CREATE had a race that required an Etag be sent when a resource is
first created. (Section 10.2.2).
Content-Base was deleted from the specification: it was not
implemented widely, and there is no simple, safe way to introduce it
without a robust extension mechanism. In addition, it is used in a
similar, but not identical fashion in MHTML .
Transfer-coding and message lengths all interact in ways that
required fixing exactly when chunked encoding is used (to allow for
transfer encoding that may not be self delimiting); it was important
to straighten out exactly how message lengths are computed. (Sections
3.6, 4.4, 7.2.2, 13.5.2, 14.13, 14.16)
A content-coding of "identity" was introduced, to solve problems
discovered in caching. (section 3.5)
Quality Values of zero should indicate that "I don't want something"
to allow clients to refuse a representation. (Section 3.9)
The use and interpretation of HTTP version numbers has been clarified
by RFC 2145. Require proxies to upgrade requests to highest protocol
version they support to deal with problems discovered in HTTP/1.0
implementations (Section 3.1)
Charset wildcarding is introduced to avoid explosion of character set
names in accept headers. (Section 14.2)
A case was missed in the Cache-Control model of HTTP/1.1; s-maxage
was introduced to add this missing case. (Sections 13.4, 14.8, 14.9,
The Cache-Control: max-age directive was not properly defined for
responses. (Section 14.9.3)
There are situations where a server (especially a proxy) does not
know the full length of a response but is capable of serving a
byterange request. We therefore need a mechanism to allow byteranges
with a content-range not indicating the full length of the message.
Range request responses would become very verbose if all meta-data
were always returned; by allowing the server to only send needed
headers in a 206 response, this problem can be avoided. (Section
10.2.7, 13.5.3, and 14.27)
Fix problem with unsatisfiable range requests; there are two cases:
syntactic problems, and range doesn't exist in the document. The 416
status code was needed to resolve this ambiguity needed to indicate
an error for a byte range request that falls outside of the actual
contents of a document. (Section 10.4.17, 14.16)
Rewrite of message transmission requirements to make it much harder
for implementors to get it wrong, as the consequences of errors here
can have significant impact on the Internet, and to deal with the
1. Changing "HTTP/1.1 or later" to "HTTP/1.1", in contexts where
this was incorrectly placing a requirement on the behavior of an
implementation of a future version of HTTP/1.x
2. Made it clear that user-agents should retry requests, not
"clients" in general.
3. Converted requirements for clients to ignore unexpected 100
(Continue) responses, and for proxies to forward 100 responses,
into a general requirement for 1xx responses.
4. Modified some TCP-specific language, to make it clearer that
non-TCP transports are possible for HTTP.
5. Require that the origin server MUST NOT wait for the request
body before it sends a required 100 (Continue) response.
6. Allow, rather than require, a server to omit 100 (Continue) if
it has already seen some of the request body.
7. Allow servers to defend against denial-of-service attacks and
This change adds the Expect header and 417 status code. The message
transmission requirements fixes are in sections 8.2, 10.4.18,
126.96.36.199, 13.11, and 14.20.
Proxies should be able to add Content-Length when appropriate.
Clean up confusion between 403 and 404 responses. (Section 10.4.4,
10.4.5, and 10.4.11)
Warnings could be cached incorrectly, or not updated appropriately.
(Section 13.1.2, 13.2.4, 13.5.2, 13.5.3, 14.9.3, and 14.46) Warning
also needed to be a general header, as PUT or other methods may have
need for it in requests.
Transfer-coding had significant problems, particularly with
interactions with chunked encoding. The solution is that transfer-
codings become as full fledged as content-codings. This involves
adding an IANA registry for transfer-codings (separate from content
codings), a new header field (TE) and enabling trailer headers in the
future. Transfer encoding is a major performance benefit, so it was
worth fixing . TE also solves another, obscure, downward
interoperability problem that could have occured due to interactions
between authentication trailers, chunked encoding and HTTP/1.0
clients.(Section 3.6, 3.6.1, and 14.39)
The PATCH, LINK, UNLINK methods were defined but not commonly
implemented in previous versions of this specification. See RFC 2068
The Alternates, Content-Version, Derived-From, Link, URI, Public and
Content-Base header fields were defined in previous versions of this
specification, but not commonly implemented. See RFC 2068 .