[Rd] [R] HTTP User-Agent header

Prof Brian Ripley ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Fri Jul 28 21:26:22 CEST 2006

On Fri, 28 Jul 2006, Robert Gentleman wrote:

> I wonder if it would not be better to make the user agent string 
> something that is configurable (at the time R is built) rather than at 
> run time. This would make Seth's patch about 1% as long. Or this could 
> be handled as an option. The patches are pretty extensive and allow for 
> setting the agent header by setting parameters in function calls (eg 
> download.files). I am not sure there is a good use case for that level 
> of flexibility and the additional code is substantial.
> The issue that I think arises is that there are potentially other 
> systems that will be unhappy with R's identification of itself and so 
> some users may also need to turn it off.

I also thought that there was no need for this level of complexity. 
(BTW, some of the patch is changes Seth has made for other purposes, e.g. 
that to memory.c, so please no one apply all of it.)

I'd be happy for R to just identify itself as 'R', which seems allowed:
(http://www.w3.org/Protocols/rfc2616/rfc2616-sec14.html).  But I am a bit 
concerned that sites may not just require the field but also require a 
particular format (even though W3C does not).

> Any strong opinions?
> James P. Howard, II wrote:
> > On 7/28/06, Seth Falcon <sfalcon at fhcrc.org> wrote:
> > 
> >> I have a rough draft patch, see below, that adds a User-Agent header
> >> to HTTP requests made in R via download.file.  If there is interest, I
> >> will polish it.
> > 
> > It looks right, but I am running under Windows without a compiler.
> > 

Brian D. Ripley,                  ripley at stats.ox.ac.uk
Professor of Applied Statistics,  http://www.stats.ox.ac.uk/~ripley/
University of Oxford,             Tel:  +44 1865 272861 (self)
1 South Parks Road,                     +44 1865 272866 (PA)
Oxford OX1 3TG, UK                Fax:  +44 1865 272595

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