W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > ietf-http-wg-old@w3.org > May to August 1996

Re: Meta data in anchors..

From: Koen Holtman <koen@win.tue.nl>
Date: Thu, 8 Aug 1996 11:28:23 +0200 (MET DST)
Message-Id: <199608080928.LAA14016@wsooti04.win.tue.nl>
To: Peter J Churchyard <pjc@trusted.com>
Cc: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Peter J Churchyard:
>
>When following discussions on content negociation and similiar issues,
>I often reflect as to whether it would be a good idea to allow meta data
>to be embedded in the anchor when a document is retrieved so that if a 
>link is to a docuemnt is several formats, the user could xxx-click on the
>link and get a menu displayed of the available formats.

Well, the transparent content negotiation draft (see
http://gewis.win.tue.nl/~koen/conneg/) defines a suitable meta data
format for this: the variant list.  Such lists could be included (with
appropriate escapes for > and ") in anchors.

However, transparent content negotiation already makes it possible to
xxx-click on a link and get a menu of available formats, though it
will take a GET request to retrieve the list from the server.

>Most requests must be made by users clicking on a link. Having meta data
>available as part of the link could help to negate some of the
>complexity of negociation.

Meta data as part of the link would make content negotiation more
efficient, and so could reduce complexity by eliminating the need for
some efficiency mechanisms elsewhere.

However, I think that keeping the meta data in the links in sync with
the actually available variants will be a *very* complex task
(especially for links to other peoples negotiated home pages).  So you
end up pushing a lot of complexity to the content author, just to
eliminate a little complexity for server, proxy, and user agent
authors.

>My limited use of Gopher+ has shown this to be very useful. You get to
>specify your general preferences but still have the option of easily
>fetching an alternate representation. 

Yes, this functionality is extremely useful.  But transparent content
negotiation provides for it without requiring annotated links.

>Pete.

Koen.
Received on Thursday, 8 August 1996 02:32:41 EDT

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