[whatwg] Implement XMLHttpRequest interface subset on HTMLDocument

Weston Ruter weston at shepherd-interactive.com
Wed Oct 29 12:06:28 PDT 2008

I realized that the HTTP response headers exposed in the HTMLDocument
interface <http://www.w3.org/html/wg/html5/#htmldocument> are limited:
referrer, cookie, lastModified, charset, characterSet.

It would be very useful if a script could get *all* of the response headers,
the raw entity body, and the HTTP status: basically it would be great if the
HTMLDocument interface implemented a subset of of the XMLHttpRequest spec,
namely the parts which have to do with the response (e.g.
getAllResponseHeaders(), getResponseHeader(), status, and others which
appear below). The HTMLDocument interface already has a readyState property
which XMLHttpRequest also has, but the HTMLDocument interface lacks XHR's
onreadystatechange attribute.

If this subset were implemented on HTMLDocument, then scripts would be able
to determine if the page if a 404 or get any other arbitrary information
that is passed in the response header.

Here's a proposed extension to the HTMLDocument interface with some comments
to explain the semantics:

interface HTMLDocument {
  //another way to get DOMContentLoaded event; the readyState would start
out as LOADING
  attribute EventListener onreadystatechange;

  // state
  const unsigned short UNSENT = 0;
  const unsigned short OPENED = 1;
  const unsigned short HEADERS_RECEIVED = 2;
  const unsigned short LOADING = 3;
  const unsigned short DONE = 4;
  readonly attribute unsigned short readyState; //already in HTML 5

  // request
  void abort(); //complements window.stop(): stops the contained document
instead of the associated resources

  // response
  DOMString getAllResponseHeaders();
  DOMString getResponseHeader(in DOMString header);
  readonly attribute DOMString responseText; //the non-parsed content of the
  readonly attribute Document responseXML;
  readonly attribute unsigned short status;
  readonly attribute DOMString statusText;
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