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In RFC 2068, it states, "[HTTP] is a generic, stateless, object-oriented protocol which can be used for many tasks, such as name servers and distributed object management systems, through extension of its request methods."

Can someone elaborate on what those adjectives mean in regards to HTTP?

Thank you.

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up vote 5 down vote accepted

generic (section 15.4):

Like any generic data transfer protocol, HTTP cannot regulate the content of the data that is transferred, nor is there any a priori method of determining the sensitivity of any particular piece of information within the context of any given request.


You have to take care of handling states of the application you write (e.g. if a user is logged in or not). The protocol does not handle that for you.

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Can you provide examples of protocols which, say, are not "generic" and are not "stateless"? I would like something to compare to HTTP in that respect. Thank you for your response. Very appreciated. – H3br3wHamm3r81 May 14 '11 at 19:09
stateful protocols are: Telnet, SSH, etc. non-generic (specific): is everything which is not defined by an international (open) standard – udo May 15 '11 at 7:46

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