More thoughts on HTTP, Email, and Jabber

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Since writing the previous entry, some more thoughts have drawn themselves to my attention. There are advantages that HTTP does have over email. Built-in authentication for one thing. I’ve only used basic authentication, but what about digest? Moreover, Jabber goes one better and has a framework for identity.

Actually, talking about HTTP headers with basic and digest authentication, here’s something else I’ve been wondering. Simon Fell rightly suggests using a more polite and sensitive way to grab RSS sources, by use of the Etag and If-Not-Match headers. Very sensible. But what about the If-Modified-Since header?

Here’s one advantage that email has over HTTP. A built-in queueing system. Ok, the actual queueing system is made most visible by use of email clients, where you see mails in a queue, ready to read or process. But this is just a mask over the flat stack of emails that you can pop with, er, the POP protocol.

“Yesbut”, as a friend used to say in meetings and discussions. Here’s something I’ve been pondering too. Last week I downloaded and installed the fabulous RT, (“Request Tracker”) – a ticketing system written in Perl. It’s very flexible and extensible. RT allows tickets to be managed in queues. It also allows tickets to be created (or corresponded upon) through different interfaces – via a web interface, via email, or via the command line. Any incoming transaction is inserted into a queue (if it’s a new ticket) or appended to an existing queue entry (if it’s correspondence on an existing ticket). I wonder if I can build a small front end to accept HTTP-based business calls and stick them in an RT queue? Of course, I also wonder whether that would be useful, but if nothing else, it would be stimulating.