W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > August 2007

Re: review of content type rules by IETF/HTTP community

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Mon, 27 Aug 2007 13:12:58 -0500
Message-ID: <46D3142A.4080605@mit.edu>
To: Robert Burns <rob@robburns.com>
CC: public-html@w3.org

Robert Burns wrote:
> Again, as a reminder I did create a wiki page on this issue[1]. 

I'm not sure I follow the structure of the page.  Where in that page 
would I put the description of current Gecko behavior?

> Yeah, that doesn't sound good. I guess IE-sniffing made this all become 
> common practice in the early days of PHP server apps.

It's not just IE.  Netscape did some pretty serious sniffing of 
non-toplevel resources (stylesheets, scripts, images).  Or rather, it 
just ignored the server-provided MIME type for them.  Modern UAs largely 
do likewise.

> I assume by 'rpm' you're referring to it meaning RealPlayer media and 
> Redhat Package Manager in different places.

Yes.  And yes, the three-letter thing is silly, but it's as much a 
de-facto standard as the use of extensions for typing... :(

> For .xml, I'm not sure what you're referring to. Do you mean that .xml 
> can map either to text/xml or application/xml?

No, I mean that a .xml file can contain XML of all sorts, that might 
need to be handled by all sorts of different applications and should 
really be served with different MIME types (feeds, RDF, OpenDocument, 
GNUCash data, raw XML to be viewed in an XML viewer, XHTML, etc, etc). 
Some of these uses have their own extension, some don't.  New uses of 
XML may or may not get an extension in addition to a type.

> Or are you referring to the fact that application/xml defines many 
> flavors of XML. This to me is not that much of a problem.

It is for me as a UA implementor.

> I think UAs should be capable of handling XML 
> sub-types as XML as well.

I can't think of a single user who actually wants to get their 
OpenDocument file as an XML tree when they click a link on a web page.

> So are webapp authors not setting MIME types for their HTTP responses?

Either that (and the server-side software fills one in for them) or 
setting one type in some common included header and using it for all 
files they serve up.

> I guess that sounds like an evangelism issue.

It basically is, yes.

> It seems to me that by changing the default user configuration file for 
> Apache could have a  more profound impact than creating a new RFC or W3C 
> recommendation.

Absolutely.  As with any change on the ground, really.  ;)

> If the dynamically generated content is a direct in-memory response from 
> the server without creating a separate file, then the filename 
> extensions would not be relveant would they?

This is the case that concerns me, yes.  We were talking about this in 
the context of what UAs are supposed to do, and a UA has no way to tell 
that it's in this situation, really.

-Boris
Received on Monday, 27 August 2007 18:13:21 UTC

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