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Versions: 00 01 02

Network Working Group                                           E. Wilde
Internet-Draft                                          February 3, 2016
Intended status: Standards Track
Expires: August 6, 2016


                         The Sunset HTTP Header
                      draft-wilde-sunset-header-01

Abstract

   This specification defines the Sunset HTTP response header field,
   which indicates that a URI is likely to become unresponsive at a
   specified point in the future.

Note to Readers

   This draft should be discussed on the apps-discuss mailing list [1].

   Online access to all versions and files is available on GitHub [2].

Status of This Memo

   This Internet-Draft is submitted in full conformance with the
   provisions of BCP 78 and BCP 79.

   Internet-Drafts are working documents of the Internet Engineering
   Task Force (IETF).  Note that other groups may also distribute
   working documents as Internet-Drafts.  The list of current Internet-
   Drafts is at http://datatracker.ietf.org/drafts/current/.

   Internet-Drafts are draft documents valid for a maximum of six months
   and may be updated, replaced, or obsoleted by other documents at any
   time.  It is inappropriate to use Internet-Drafts as reference
   material or to cite them other than as "work in progress."

   This Internet-Draft will expire on August 6, 2016.

Copyright Notice

   Copyright (c) 2016 IETF Trust and the persons identified as the
   document authors.  All rights reserved.

   This document is subject to BCP 78 and the IETF Trust's Legal
   Provisions Relating to IETF Documents
   (http://trustee.ietf.org/license-info) in effect on the date of
   publication of this document.  Please review these documents
   carefully, as they describe your rights and restrictions with respect



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   to this document.  Code Components extracted from this document must
   include Simplified BSD License text as described in Section 4.e of
   the Trust Legal Provisions and are provided without warranty as
   described in the Simplified BSD License.

Table of Contents

   1.  Introduction  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   2
   2.  Terminology . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   3.  The Sunset HTTP Response Header . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   3
   4.  Sunset and Caching  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   5.  IANA Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
     5.1.  The Sunset Response Header  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   6.  Security Considerations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   4
   7.  Example . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   8.  Open Issues . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5
   9.  Change Log  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     9.1.  From -00 to -01 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   10. References  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     10.1.  Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
     10.2.  Non-Normative References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6
   Author's Address  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   6

1.  Introduction

   As a general rule, URIs should be stable and persistent, so that
   applications can use them as stable and persistent identifiers for
   resources.  However, there are many scenarios where for a variety of
   reasons, URIs have a limited lifetime.  In some of these scenarios,
   this limited lifetime is known in advance.  In this case, it can be
   useful for clients if resources make this information about their
   limited lifetime known.  This specification defines the Sunset HTTP
   response header field, which indicates that a URI is likely to become
   unresponsive at some point in the future.

   Possible scenarios for known lifetimes of resources include, but are
   not limited to the following:

      Temporary Resources: Some resources may have a limited lifetime by
      definition.  For example, a pending order represented by a
      resource may already list all the details of the order, but may
      only exist for a limited time unless it is confirmed and only then
      becomes permanent.  In such a case, the service managing the
      pending order can make this limited lifetime explicit, allowing
      clients to understand that the pending order, unless confirmed,
      will disappear at some point in time.





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      Migration: If resources are changing identity because a service
      migrates them, then this may be known in advance.  While it may
      not yet be appropriate to use HTTP redirect status codes (3xx), it
      may be interesting for clients to learn about the service's plan
      to take down the original resource.

      Retention: There are many cases where regulation or legislation
      require that resources are kept available for a certain amount of
      time.  However, in many cases there also is a requirement for
      those resources to be permanently deleted after some period of
      time.  Since the deletion of the resource in this scenario is
      governed by well-defined rules, it could be made explicit for
      clients interacting with the resource.

2.  Terminology

   The key words "MUST", "MUST NOT", "REQUIRED", "SHALL", "SHALL NOT",
   "SHOULD", "SHOULD NOT", "RECOMMENDED", "MAY", and "OPTIONAL" in this
   document are to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119 [1].

3.  The Sunset HTTP Response Header

   The Sunset HTTP response header field allows a server to communicate
   the fact that a resource is expected to become unresponsive at a
   specific point in time.  It provides information for clients which
   they can use to control their usage of the resource.

   The Sunset header contains a single timestamp which advertises the
   point in time when the resource is expected to become unresponsive.
   The Sunset value is an HTTP-date timestamp, as defined in
   Section 7.1.1.1 of [3].

   Sunset = HTTP-date

   For example

   Sunset: Sat, 31 Dec 2016 23:59:59 GMT

   Clients SHOULD treat Sunset timestamps as hints: It is not guaranteed
   that the resource will in fact be available until that time, and will
   not be available after that time.  However, since this information is
   provided by the resource itself, it does have some credibility.

   After the Sunset time has arrived, it is likely that interactions
   with the resource will either results in client-side errors (HTTP 4xx
   status codes), or redirect responses (HTTP 3xx status codes).  The
   Sunset header does not expose any information about which of those
   two behaviors can be expected.



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   Clients not interpreting an existing Sunset header field can operate
   as usual and simply may experience the resource becoming unavailable
   without getting any notification about it beforehand.

4.  Sunset and Caching

   It should be noted that the Sunset HTTP response header field serves
   a different purpose than HTTP caching [4].  HTTP caching is concerned
   with making resource representations (i.e., represented resource
   state) reusable, so that they can be more efficiently used.  This is
   achieved by using header fields that allow clients and intermediaries
   to better understand when a resource representation can be reused, or
   when resource state (and thus the representation) may have changed.

   The Sunset header field is not concerned with resource state at all.
   It only signals that a resource is expected to become unavailable at
   a specific point in time.  There are no assumptions about if, when,
   or how often a resource may change state in the meantime.

   For these reasons, the Sunset header field and HTTP caching should be
   seen as complementary, and not as overlapping in scope and
   functionality.

5.  IANA Considerations

5.1.  The Sunset Response Header

   The Sunset response header should be added to the permanent registry
   of message header fields (see [2]), taking into account the
   guidelines given by HTTP/1.1 [3].

   Header Field Name: Sunset

   Applicable Protocol: Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)

   Status: Standard

   Author/Change controller: IETF

   Specification document(s): RFC XXXX

6.  Security Considerations

   ...







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7.  Example

   Assuming that a resource has been created in an archive that for
   management or compliance reason only stores resources for two years,
   and permanently deletes them afterwards, then the Sunset header field
   can be used to expose this information.  If such a resource has been
   created on November 11, 2014, then the following header field can be
   included in responses:

   Sunset: Fri, 11 Nov 2016 11:11:11 GMT

   This allows clients that are aware of the Sunset header field to
   understand that the resource likely will become unavailable at this
   point in time.  Clients can decide to ignore this information, adjust
   their own behavior accordingly, or even alert users about this
   timestamp.

   Even though the Sunset header information is made available by the
   resource itself, there is no guarantee that the resource indeed will
   become unavailable, and if so, how the response will look like for
   requests made after that timestamp.  In case of the archive used as
   an example here, the resource indeed may be permanently deleted, and
   requests for the URI after the Sunset timestamp may receive a "410
   Gone" HTTP response.  (This is assuming that the archive keeps track
   of the URIs it has assigned; if not, the response may be a more
   generic "404 Not Found".)

8.  Open Issues

   Note to RFC Editor: Please remove this section before publication.

   o  Human readable explanation: It would be possible to include human-
      readable information about the reason for the URI's disappearance.
      This could either be done inline (probably just a simple string),
      and/or by reference to a URI that will dereference to human-
      readable information.

   o  Machine-readable explanation: It would be possible to include
      machine-readable information about the reason for the URI's
      disappearance.  This could either be done inline (maybe name/value
      pairs), and/or by reference to a URI that will dereference to
      machine-readable information.

   o  New URI: If the resource's new URI is known (for example when a
      service is migrating in a way that invalidates existing URIs, but
      has a plan of how these will map to new URIs), then that URI could
      be advertised in advance (i.e., it's not yet a 3xx, but clients
      might want to start working with the new URI anyway).



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   o  Timestamp in the past: Should it be allowed to have timestamps in
      the past?  Maybe either disallow them, or specifically allow them
      and explain what they mean, for example the fact that a resource
      that now is redirecting can expose information about when it
      changed from being the primary resource to being the redirection.

9.  Change Log

   Note to RFC Editor: Please remove this section before publication.

9.1.  From -00 to -01

   o  Fixing Typos.

10.  References

10.1.  Normative References

   [1]        Bradner, S., "Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate
              Requirement Levels", RFC 2119, March 1997.

   [2]        Klyne, G., Nottingham, M., and J. Mogul, "Registration
              Procedures for Message Header Fields", BCP 90, RFC 3864,
              September 2004.

   [3]        Fielding, R. and J. Reschke, "Hypertext Transfer Protocol
              (HTTP/1.1): Semantics and Content", RFC 7231, June 2014.

10.2.  Non-Normative References

   [4]        Fielding, R., Nottingham, M., and J. Reschke, "Hypertext
              Transfer Protocol (HTTP/1.1): Caching", RFC 7234, June
              2014.

Author's Address

   Erik Wilde

   Email: erik.wilde@dret.net
   URI:   http://dret.net/netdret/











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