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HTTP State Management Mechanism

Document Charter HTTP State Management Mechanism WG (httpstate)
Title HTTP State Management Mechanism
Last updated 2011-05-18
State Approved
WG State Concluded
IESG Responsible AD Peter Saint-Andre
Charter edit AD (None)
Send notices to (None)

The HTTP State Management Mechanism (aka Cookies) was originally
  created by Netscape Communications in their informal Netscape cookie
  specification ("cookie_spec.html"), from which formal specifications
  RFC 2109 and RFC 2965 evolved. The formal specifications, however,
  were never fully implemented in practice; RFC 2109, in addition to
  cookie_spec.html, more closely resemble real-world implementations
  than RFC 2965, even though RFC 2965 officially obsoletes the former.
  Compounding the problem are undocumented features (such as HTTPOnly),
  and varying behaviors among real-world implementations.
  The working group will create a new RFC that:
   * obsoletes RFC 2109,
   * updates RFC 2965 to the extent it overlaps or voids RFC 2109, and
   * specifies Cookies as they are actually used in existing 
     implementations and deployments.
  Where commonalities exist in the most widely used implementations, the
  working group will specify the common behavior. Where differences exist 
  among the most widely used implementations, the working group will 
  document the variations and seek consensus to reduce variation by 
  selecting among the most widely used variations.
  The working group must not introduce any new syntax or new semantics
  not already in common use.
  The working group's specific deliverables are:
  * A standards-track document that is suitable to supersede RFC 2109 
    (likely based on draft-abarth-cookie)
  * An informational document cataloguing the differences between major
  In doing so, the working group should consider:
  * cookie_spec.html - Netscape Cookie Specification
  * RFC 2109 - HTTP State Management Mechanism (Obsoleted by RFC 2965)
  * RFC 2964 - Use of HTTP State Management
  * RFC 2965 - HTTP State Management Mechanism (Obsoletes RFC 2109)
  * I-D - HTTP State Management Mechanism v2
  * I-D - Cookie-based HTTP Authentication
  * Widely Implemented - HTTPOnly
  * Browser Security Handbook - Cookies
  * HTTP Cookies: Standards, Privacy, and Politics by David M. Kristol