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Re: New feature negotiation syntax

From: Koen Holtman <koen@win.tue.nl>
Date: Tue, 10 Jun 1997 23:16:33 +0200 (MET DST)
Message-Id: <199706102116.XAA03537@wsooti08.win.tue.nl>
To: "David W. Morris" <dwm@xpasc.com>
Cc: jg@pa.dec.com, http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com, masinter@parc.xerox.com
David W. Morris:
>What we don't seem to have is interest in the issue. To that end, perhaps
>a problem/requirements 'document' would help move the issue forward.

But we _do_ have interest, we even have some implementers who are
waiting to deploy.  I see a divide in this working group: we have one
fairly vocal fraction which wants to deploy now, and one fairly silent
fraction which is in some `not making progress until' mode I don't
quite understand.

I hope that a requirements document will bridge this divide, but
frankly I have trouble understanding how this divide came to happen in
the first place.  We did not have things like this with cookies or
digest authentication.

>Many moons ago Dave Raggett brought up the idea of some kind of features
>and mis-features (bugs?) repository which could be some kind of shared
>intellegence about specific instances of user agents. Various ideas were
>tossed about about who whould store such data, etc.

Yes.  If I recall correctly, one of the major problems in this
particular area was who you could trust to tell you how buggy which
user agent was.

> Perhaps we could
>come to closure on the requirement for TCN if there were an accepted
>mechanism for translating the User Agent field value into a set of
>TCN features for those User-agents which didn't declare themselves.

I don't think this would allow closure sooner: currently, TCN does not
rule on this topic at all: the spec leaves the method of selecting
content for user agents not capable of TCN completely up to the origin
server implementer.

I agree though that a user-agent header to feature set mapping
mechanism in servers, to be used in server-driven negotiation for user
agents not capable of TCN, is a good idea.  I would certainly want to
encourage experimentation with such things, but I think it is too soon
for a standard.

>Even the recomendation that server implementors provide the installation
>with a configuration option for associating TCN values with UA values? 
>It would still be better of the UA would tell the server which local
>options the user had activated (Java? JavaScript? Etc.).

Yes.  I would personally encourage agents not implementing TCN to
express a few options like this in a very compact way in the
user-agent header (or some other header), if privacy considerations
permit.  But I know that my view on this is not shared by everyone in
this WG, so I would not put such an encouragement in the TCN draft. 

>Dave Morris

Received on Tuesday, 10 June 1997 14:26:19 EDT

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