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Linux.com: Unix Web Application Architectures - Part 2: The Web Server

Sep 19, 2000, 07:18 (0 Talkback[s])
(Other stories by Samuli Kärkkäinen)

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"One choice to make when deciding on the architecture of an application is whether to use an existing web server for HTTP request handling, or if it would be better to implement an HTTP server as part of the application."

"The first HTTP protocol version, now known as HTTP version 0.9, was very simple one. There was just the GET method with no additional information, and the response was the document body as is. Not much was won by using a separate web server, instead of embedding one as part of one's application. But this was the situation 5 years ago."

"The current HTTP protocol version is 1.1, and the RFC specifying it is over 400 KB of text. It includes 6 different methods and 17 different request headers. A good implementation should also work around bugs in client implementations. For example, some browsers don't work properly with keep-alive connections, and that feature shouldn't be used with those buggy browsers (as reported by the User-Agent field). For these reasons, if good HTTP protocol compliance matters, it's a good idea to use a separate HTTP server. An additional benefit of doing that is that often a part of the application features is best implemented by the web server, such as automatic directory listings, HTTP access control or redirections."

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