File: cookies.txt

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Internet Cookies
================

This gives a short overview about cookies in general and their
implementation in the CGI library in detail.  The use of cookies is
described in two partially different ways.  Netscape has released
their standard and an RFC (2109) has been filed from Bell Labs.  Both
documents are found through "More Information".

Server Side
-----------

  The server initiates a session by sending a cookie to the client.
  The server may transmit one or more cookies by using the additional
  HTTP header "Set-Cookie" like

     Set-Cookie: foo=bar; Version=1; Path=/foo; Domain=.foo.org

  This cookie would only be available within any host that matches
  *.foo.org.  According to RFC 2109 * may not contain a dot, according
  to Netscape's documentation it may.  The client would only send the
  cookie back to the server if the URL is within /foo on that server.

  When more than one cookie are to be transmitted they are separated
  with a comma.  Attributes are separated with a semicolon.

  If the current URL doesn't match the Path attribute or the hostname
  doesn't match the Domain attribute, the client will ignore the
  cookie.

Client Side
-----------

  When the client requests a web page, it checks if the location is
  within the scope of one or more cookies.  If so it sends them, ordered
  by the most matching one, like:

     Cookie: $Version=1; foo=bar; $path=/; bar=foo; $path=/foo

  Attributes belong to the most left name=value pair.  Attributes
  specified before such a pair are valid for all subsequent cookies.

Syntax
------

     Cookie        ::= <header> ":" <attr> *( ";" <attr> )
     <header>      ::= "Cookie" | "Set-Cookie"
     <attr>        ::= <attr-name> [ "=" <value> ]
     <attr-name>   ::= <token>
     <value>       ::= <token> | <quoted-string>
     <token>       ::= sequence of non-special, non-white space characters

  Attribut names (<attr-name>) are case-insensitive.  Spaces may be
  used between tokens and within attribute values.  Some attributes
  don't require a value.

  The Set-Cookie header uses these attributes:

     <cookie>        ::= NAME "=" VALUE *( ";" <attr> )   # required
     <attr>          ::= "Comment" "=" value              # optional
		       | "Domain" "=" value               # optional
		       | "Max-Age" "=" value              # optional
		       | "Path" "=" value                 # optional
		       | "Secure"                         # optional
		       | "Version" "=" 1*DIGIT            # required

  Apart from the cookie itself as NAME "=" VALUE the Cookie header as
  sent by the client uses only $Version, $Path and $Domain which are
  both optional.  The value of the Version attribute must be the value
  from the Version attribute, if any, of the corresponding Set-Cookie
  response header.

     <cookie>        ::= <version> *( ( ";" | "," ) <cookie-value> )
     <cookie-value>  ::= NAME "=" VALUE [";" <path>] [";" <domain>]
     <path>	     ::= "$Path" "=" value
     <domain>	     ::= "$Domain" "=" value

   Note: For backward compatibility, the separator in the Cookie
   header is semi-colon (;) everywhere.  A server should also accept
   comma (,) as the separator between cookie-values for future
   compatibility.

  
More Information
----------------

  If you want to find out more about cookies, please go to
  http://www.infodrom.north.de/linx/ and search for "cookie".