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Re: charset Reality Check

From: Dave Kristol <dmk@allegra.att.com>
Date: Wed, 11 Jan 95 10:49:23 EST
Message-Id: <9501111553.AA24617@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
I've been patiently watching the discussion of Accept-Parameter, et
al., and waiting for someone to mention my extensions proposal
(http://www.research.att.com/~dmk/extend.html) as a possible approach.
Since no one did, I will.

I hate to see HTTP cluttered with a bunch of rarely-used headers.  At
the risk of using more characters (Roy Fielding's caution noted),
Accept-Parameter could be rendered (from the client):
	Extension: HTTP/charset required=oneof; set=UNICODE-1-1-UTF-8
	Extension: HTTP/charset required=oneof; set=iso-8859-*

The server would either respond with a similar header, like
	Extension: HTTP/charset set=UNICODE-1-1-UTF-8
to identify what was used, or it would return a failure, because neither
of the required sets was supported.

An Extensions:-unaware server would ignore the header and return none,
and the client would have to fend for itself, as it does now.

Roy Fielding said:
  > >>                                           Also, a quality attribute is
  > >>   only useful if we add it to the content-negotiation algorithm --
  > >>   something I would like to avoid (like the plague that it has become).

  > Pre-emptive content negotiation just doesn't work.  Perhaps we should try
  > to define a matrix of common client characteristics/behavior, and just
  > provide a header for that....

The matrix approach is interesting (rather than negotiate each little
item).  My Extensions: proposal includes a negotiation algorithm.  I
think it would be better to settle on a single algorithm than have a
different one for each thing to be negotiated.  Perhaps the one I've
proposed is unsatisfactory.  I'm open to improvements.  Nevertheless, I
think there will be things in HTTP that will demand negotiation.

Dave Kristol
Received on Wednesday, 11 January 1995 07:59:31 EST

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