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1 2010/08/31 - HTTP Cookies - Theory and reality
3 HTTP cookies are not uniformly supported across browsers, which makes it very
4 hard to build a widely compatible implementation. At least four conflicting
5 documents exist to describe how cookies should be handled, and browsers
6 generally don't respect any but a sensibly selected mix of them :
8 - Netscape's original spec (also mirrored at Curl's site among others) :
12 Issues: uses an unquoted "Expires" field that includes a comma.
14 - RFC 2109 :
17 Issues: specifies use of "Max-Age" (not universally implemented) and does
18 not talk about "Expires" (generally supported). References quoted
19 strings, not generally supported (eg: MSIE). Stricter than browsers
20 about domains. Ambiguous about allowed spaces in values and attrs.
22 - RFC 2965 :
25 Issues: same as RFC2109 + describes Set-Cookie2 which only Opera supports.
27 - Current internet draft :
30 Issues: as of -p10, does not explain how the Set-Cookie2 header must be
31 emitted/handled, while suggesting a stricter approach for Cookie.
32 Documents reality and as such reintroduces the widely used unquoted
33 "Expires" attribute with its error-prone syntax. States that a
34 server should not emit more than one cookie per Set-Cookie header,
35 which is incompatible with HTTP which says that multiple headers
36 are allowed only if they can be folded.
38 See also the following URL for a browser * feature matrix :
41 In short, MSIE and Safari neither support quoted strings nor max-age, which
42 make it mandatory to continue to send an unquoted Expires value (maybe the
43 day of week could be omitted though). Only Safari supports comma-separated
44 lists of Set-Cookie headers. Support for cross-domains is not uniform either.