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Semantics of "Accept:"

From: Jim Seidman <jim@spyglass.com>
Date: Wed, 22 Mar 95 09:20:44 -0600
Message-Id: <9503221520.AA29145@hook.spyglass.com>
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Let me start off by saying that agree completely with the general sentiment
that "*/*" meaning "not unusual" is unworkable.  This is especially true
since 5.4.1 is self-contradictory, as the first paragraph states that "*/*"
indicates all media types.  When writing a server, I want to know that in
response to a "*/*" I can return any file.

My biggest problem is that current practice for most browsers seems to be an
accept line like:

Accept: text/html, text/plain, image/gif, image/jpeg, */*; q=0.3

meaning that the browser would prefer those types with q=1.0 since it can
display them implicitly, but it can take anything else and save it to disk
(or route it to a helper app, or whatever).  I haven't been convinced that
it's worth making the spec diverge from current practice in the way that
5.4.1 specifies.

I'd also like to quibble over the statement "If at least one Accept header
is present, a quality factor of 0 is equivalent to not sending an Accept
header field containing that media-type or set of media-types."  Does this
mean that these lines are identical?

Accept: application/octet-stream; q=0, application/* 
Accept: application/*

It seems like it would be more useful if q=0 could be used to explicitly
disallow a certain type.  Comments?

--
Jim Seidman, Senior Software Engineer, Spyglass Inc.
Received on Wednesday, 22 March 1995 07:30:40 EST

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