This week's Refcard is focused on the foundation of communication on the web, the hypertext transfer protocol. Mick Knutson answered a few questions about his background and interest in creating a professional-grade reference to HTTP for developers.
DZone: What's your professional background, and how did it help you to author the HTTP Refcard?
Mick Knutson: I have been working with HTTP based applications since 1992 on a variety of languages including PHP, Perl and Java to name a few.
DZone: Unlike many of our Refcards, which we commission from authors, you actually came to us with the first draft of this Refcard unsolicited. What compelled you to create a Refcard on HTTP?
Mick Knutson: I find that I the need to refer to many aspects of the HTTP specification are needed on a daily basis when debugging HTTP based applications. This constant reference need for myself and those I work with gave me the idea that many other developers could also benefit from this type of reference regardless of what language they are developing in.
DZone: Please describe what readers will get out of this card in a couple sentences.
Mick Knutson: Readers will get an overview of the components of HTTP, request and response headers, status codes, and detailed inter-working of the protocol. The reader will also get some detailed examples of caching and security over the HTTP protocol. Hopefully, the readers will get a valuable reference that can benefit them on a daily basis, and save the time of repeated searching and deciphering of errors.
DZone: This Refcard went through a few revisions before reaching the final version - what did we cut that you would liked to have kept?
Mick Knutson: The first section to be removed was non-standard request and response header. I feel that from a reference standpoint, those would have added to the data, and felt it could be somewhat useful at times. Additionally, there where some sentences that where condensed to fit, and the text that was removed I felt was more verbose to several sections, and could have added valuable information, but I do not feel it diminishes the value of the reference card. if anything, keeping that information in would have made the card resemble a micro-book, thus the decision to remove those items.