On Sun, 16 Jan 2005, Keith Moore wrote:
OTOH, "header line" seems ambiguous to me - I think you must mean something
_besides_ header field because you're not using either "header field" or the
common abbreviation "header". :)
With respect, you are an "unaverage reader" :-) I use "header line" in
documentation about Exim (for example), because I strongly suspect that,
to the "average" reader, the word "field" is strange and esoteric when
used in this kind of sense. If I say "the From: header line", I think
that more people - in particular including those for whom English is not
their first language - will understand what I mean than if I were to say
"the From: header field".
Indeed, if I hadn't read the RFC myself (and, let's face it, a heck of a
lot of people who are involved in running email systems don't actually
read the RFCs), I would have guessed that "the From: header field" meant
the data that followed the word "From:" rather than the whole thing,
with "From:" naming the field. I guess this is because, to me, a "field"
is a smallish chunk of data. I don't know if I'm atypical in this
respect. Maybe I am.
My feeling is that almost everybody has a similar kind of idea of what a
Of course, I may be entirely wrong here. It's all very subjective.
Anyway, if we can agree to call each individual line/field a "header",
and never to use "header" to mean the entire collection, then even more
people may be less confused, which will be a Good Thing.
Philip Hazel University of Cambridge Computing Service,
ph10(_at_)cus(_dot_)cam(_dot_)ac(_dot_)uk Cambridge, England. Phone: +44