HTTP/1.1 From header and FOAF use in RSS aggregators
Privacy issues aside (for the moment), there is a request header called "FROM", RFC 2616 s14.22 describes it.
Now, it does say it should, if given, contain an Internet e-mail address for the human user who controls the requesting user agent. SHOULD isn't MUST though, so what putting the user's homepage there?
It also says "In particular, robot agents SHOULD include this header so that the person responsible for running the robot can be contacted if problems occur on the receiving end."
Ask a stupid question , get a smart answer .
<p>Last year, I thought it was a good idea to <a href="http://www.decafbad.com/blog/tech/old/oooahe.html">abuse referers</a> in order to leave footprints behind when I consume <span class="caps">RSS</span> feeds. Then, this past January, the abuse in the practice was revealed and <a href="http://www.decafbad.com/blog/tech/old/ooodoe.html">using the User-Agent header</a> was recommended for this.</p> <p>So, just for the hell of it, I <a href="http://diveintomark.org/archives/2003/07/21/atom_aggregator_behavior_http_level.html#c003136">asked about the User-Agent header</a> for use in the context over at <a href="http://www.diveintomark.org">Mark’s place</a> to see what responses I’d get. The one that seemed most informative was from <a href="http://IAwiki.net/EricScheid">Eric Scheid</a> as quoted above, referring me to <a href="http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec14.html#sec14.22">the <span class="caps">HTTP</span>/1.1 spec, section 14.22</a></p> <p>As per Eric’s comment and the spec, the value of a “From” header <span class="caps">SHOULD</span> be an email address, but I would think that using a <span class="caps">URL</span> wouldn’t be <strong>too</strong> much an abuse of this header. Seems like a good idea to stick either the <span class="caps">URL</span> to a blog here, or even better, stick the <span class="caps">URL</span> to your <span class="caps">FOAF</span> file here.</p> <p>I’d really like to see this get built into aggregators as an option, though not turned on by defauilt for privacy’s sake. I like the idea of leaving my name or a trail back to me at the doorstep of people whose feeds I’m reading, and I like the idea of standardizing the practice as cleanly as possible. Using the “From” header seems to be the best option so far, versus header abuse and User-Agent overloading.</p> <p>Man. One of these days, I really have to get around to studying those specs in full, rather than just sporadically referencing them. Thank goodness for smart guys like <a href="http://www.diveintomark.org">Mark</a> and <a href="http://IAwiki.net/EricScheid">Eric</a> (among others) who actually take the time to read these things and try to communicate the gist to the rest of us busy developers!</p>