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Re: Problems with content negotiation (was: Re: Preemptive and

From: Fisher Mark <FisherM@is3.indy.tce.com>
Date: Tue, 12 Sep 95 13:45:00 PDT
To: HTTP Working Group <http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
Message-Id: <3055F3CE@MSMAIL.INDY.TCE.COM>

Daniel DuBois writes in <9509111559.AA21482@rafiki.spyglass.com>:
>I still don't think these things are that different.  90% of the users on
>this planet will be very content with only HTML documents.  90% of those
>left will be perfectly content with HTML or word-processor-X documents.
>Good UA's will let the user send out Accept headers indicating such.
>Documents that can't be rendered are practically useless to a user, no
>matter how nicely formatted the server thinks they are.  People like us
>computer guys who will have framemaker, AND postscript viewers, AND word,
>AND latex, AND tex will be complete aberrations.
Although I disagree with the statement, "90% of the users on this planet 
will be very content with only HTML documents", I agree that in essence, 
"90% of the users on this planet will be very content with <one format of> 
documents" (I expect the Web to get a lot wilder and woolier as time goes 
on).

What we have here is a classic engineering tradeoff of 'quick negotiation 
time' vs. 'high-user-display quality documents' vs. 'high-server-display 
quality documents' vs. 'protocol extensibility'.  If we allow for 100 MIME 
types, where my 100 MIME types are different from your 100 MIME types which 
are different from that server's 250 MIME types AND we want an extensible 
protocol rather than a predefined list, it is going to take longer to do the 
content negotiation.  It is a fact of life.  (Engineering Law: Good, Fast, 
Cheap: Choose Any Two.)

Just thought of this off the top of my head -- would compressing, then 
ASCII-encoding (like UU or base64) the Accept list help?  Any feel for that?
======================================================================
Mark Fisher                            Thomson Consumer Electronics
fisherm@indy.tce.com                   Indianapolis, IN
Received on Tuesday, 12 September 1995 12:00:58 EDT

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