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Re: meta content-language

From: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>
Date: Fri, 15 Aug 2008 10:36:18 +0300
Cc: "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>, <public-i18n-core@w3.org>
Message-Id: <A7CFD6AF-FDAE-4CF7-9847-18F0597E2B9C@iki.fi>
To: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>

On Aug 14, 2008, at 19:08, Richard Ishida wrote:

> I would recommend that we keep the language attributes for declaring  
> the
> default language of the content (the text-processing language) and  
> not muddy
> the waters by using meta Content-Language declarations fulfill a  
> similar
> role, because:
> 1. the acceptable values are different and the meta approach is  
> incompatible
> with declaring the text-processing language

The spec could make multiple language tags in Content-Language non- 
conforming and could make processing pick the first language tag.

> 2. the meta approach is really not used by anything according to the  
> tests I
> did

Given that people do put and have put language declarations there, is  
it good to keep ignoring that data?

Of course, if the data is *wrong* significantly more often than  
lang='' (assuming that the correctness level of lang='' establishes an  
implicit data quality baseline), it would be good to ignore it. My  
guess is that HTTP-level Content-Language is more likely to be wrong  
(it sure is less obvious to diagnose) than any HTML-level declaration.  
(Due to Ruby's Postulate:
http://intertwingly.net/slides/2004/devcon/68.html )

> 3. the question of inheritance is unclear when using the meta  
> statement for
> declaring the text-processing language

The spec now makes it clear.

> If the meta statement continues to be allowed, I suggest that it is  
> used in
> the same way as a Content-Language declaration in the HTTP header,  
> ie. as
> metadata about the document as a whole, but that such usage is kept  
> separate
> from use for defining the language of a range of content. As far as  
> I can
> tell, although Frontpage uses it and people on the Web recommend its  
> use, it
> has no effect at all on content, and wouldn't be missed if it were  
> dropped.

What purpose does metadata serve if it isn't actionable?

Henri Sivonen
Received on Friday, 15 August 2008 07:37:03 UTC

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