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Content negotiation, features, and related items

From: Larry Masinter <masinter@parc.xerox.com>
Date: Thu, 16 Oct 1997 23:51:11 PDT
Message-Id: <34470ADF.5F5F84F4@parc.xerox.com>
To: http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
Thanks to Graham Klyne helping sort out the status of the various 
drafts and helping organize some of the work around it.

A goal is to move content-negotiation from out of the context of
being entirely HTTP-centric, and focus some of the work around
the requirements of _other_ protocols (fax, printing, perhaps 'push')
that also require content 'negotiation' in its broader sense:
protocol elements that describe the capabilities, characteristics
and preferences of recipients, that describe the representation
of entities and alternatives that a sender might send, and extensions
that label additional characteristics of content that are not
captured by the MIME media type.

In order to ensure broad review, I am planning to ask for a BOF
at the Washington IETF to see if there is reason to create a new
'content negotiation' working group on this topic, or if the current
drafts can proceed to RFC without such a group.

Here's a status update and proposed direction for the various drafts:

draft-ietf-http-alternates-00.txt
  The Alternates Header Field
    Koen Holtman, TUE
    Andrew Mutz, Hewlett-Packard
    September 15, 1997
Target: Experimental RFC

One question is whether "Alternates" might be recast as a shorthand
for an existing structure, multipart/alternative, where all or all-but-one
of the parts is expressed as a message/external-body; that is, map
this into existing MIME semantics. (Web clients don't actually do
multipart/alternative, so this doesn't really help much for the HTTP
model, but it might work better for other MIME processors.)
Ted Hardie & Andy Mutz have been working offline on this.
There is some question as to the appropriateness of the {} braces
syntax, and it may yet do with a note (in pushing this forward
as Experimental) that the syntax might change before this actually
moves to standards track. I believe Andy's working on a new draft
with Ted's help.

QUESTION: Are there any objections to proceeding with this draft
  as an Experimental RFC? 

<draft-ietf-http-negotiate-scenario-01.txt>
Scenarios for the Delivery of Negotiated Content using HTTP
    Edward Hardie, NASA NIC
    July 18, 1997
    Target: Informational RFC
    Status: Drafted, comments received on HTTP list, revised
    Action: Will be extended to talk about other scenarios
            Graham Klyne is working on this one with Ted.

Please review this document when the next version comes out.

<draft-ietf-http-negotiation-04.txt>
  Transparent Content Negotiation in HTTP
   Koen Holtman, TUE
   Andrew Mutz, Hewlett-Packard
   September 15, 1997
   Target: Experimental RFC
   Status: Drafted, many comments received on HTTP list, revised
   Action: Should the Alternates header description just reference
      the Alternates RFC? We should be clear about the nature of
      the 'Experimental' status, for both Alternates and TCN in a
      preface.

QUESTION: Are there any objections to proceeding with this draft
  as an Experimental RFC? 

<draft-ietf-http-rvsa-v10-02.txt>
 HTTP Remote Variant Selection Algorithm -- RVSA/1.0
  Koen Holtman, TUE
  Andrew Mutz, Hewlett-Packard
  July 28, 1997
Target: Experimental RFC
Status: Drafted, comments received on HTTP list, revised
Action: Reflect changes in negotation content features drafts?

QUESTION: Are there any objections to proceeding with this draft
  as an Experimental RFC? 


<draft-ietf-http-feature-scenarios-01.txt>
   Feature Tag Scenarios
   Koen Holtman, TUE
   July 28, 1997
   Status: Drafted, comments received on HTTP list, revised
   Target: Informational RFC
   Action: Dan Wing (IETF fax) is working with Andy Mutz to
    update this to include additional (non-HTTP) scenarios.

Please review this draft when the next version is available.

<draft-ietf-http-feature-reg-02.txt>
  Feature Tag Registration Procedures
   Koen Holtman, TUE
   Andrew Mutz, Hewlett-Packard
   July 28, 1997
   Target: BCP (covering just registration)
   Status: Drafted, comments received on HTTP list, revised.
   Action: This document includes both the 'registration procedure'
     and also the definition of some initial feature tags. These
     should be separated. Ted Hardie is working on this.

<new document>
   Content Features For negotiation
   [based on work in <draft-ietf-http-feature-reg-02.txt>]
   Target: Standard RFC
   Action: this document will include the initial feature definitions
     (color, size, resolution, etc.) and establish the concept of
     content features. It will absorb the features defined in
     draft-mutz-http-attributes-02.txt ("User Agent Display Attributes").

 <draft-wing-smtp-capabilities-00.txt>
 Capabilities Exchange over SMTP
    Dan Wing
    Neil Joffe, Cisco Systems, Inc.
    August 26, 1997
    Target: Standard RFC
    Status: This document describes a way of using content negotiation
     in SMTP delivery, in the case of direct connection of sender to
     recipient.
Received on Thursday, 16 October 1997 23:57:18 EDT

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