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Re: New feature negotiation syntax

From: Jim Gettys <jg@pa.dec.com>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 10:13:06 -0700
Message-Id: <9706101713.AA12613@pachyderm.pa.dec.com>
To: http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com
Cc: masinter@parc.xerox.com
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/3460
I've been watching the situation on content negotiation now for 18 months.

I believe the fundamental disconnect this working group has on the
topic is that there is no agreement on what the actual requirements
are; until and unless such requirements are clear in the working group's
head and we agree on the requirements, it is very hard to agree on any
solution, or set of solutions.  Without such agreement on requirements,
it is impossible to analyze if any technical solution meets the requirements,
and the wheels spin massive quantities of dust...

For example, I have a (personal) belief that only the client can
have enough information to make an informed choice, and that having
a proxy try to short circuit the first round trip will ultimately be futile.
I've therefore been very skeptical of any q-factor algorithm being
ultimately useful, and am mostly interested in conveying information to
a client so it can make a choice on its own.  Hence, Alternates and
the like are very usefull in my view, and some way to encode features.

But take this as just one opinion:  others feel that avoiding a round
trip to the first proxy is benficial (I do to; I just don't think you can
make it work well enough to be useful, and that the cost is worth paying).  

Note that if you don't believe
in a requirement to avoid this latency, you get a fundamental split in
possible solutions.  Until you do have a shared understanding of requirements,
any discussion of solutions will likely end up a futile exercise.

Due to deadlines on a paper and a trip to Tokyo next week, I'll shut up
now, and continue to shut up until I get a chance to actually read current 
documents (I had a nasty case of bronchitis after Memphis that has put 
me way behind on everything, and the HTTP/1.1 issues list needed to make 
progress to make Munich a realistic deadline).

Until there is shared belief on the requirements (or at least some subset
of total requirements), I'm pessimistic about making progress...
				- Jim Gettys
Received on Tuesday, 10 June 1997 10:43:49 UTC

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