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Re: meta content-language

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Thu, 21 Aug 2008 12:46:48 -0700
Message-Id: <8ED61156-DAFF-474C-84D8-798DC04FAD06@gbiv.com>
Cc: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>, "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>, <www-international@w3.org>
To: Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi>

On Aug 20, 2008, at 11:57 PM, Henri Sivonen wrote:
> On Aug 15, 2008, at 22:42, Richard Ishida wrote:
>
>> Note that multiple language tags in Content-Language in the HTTP  
>> header are
>> a perfectly fine way to say "This is a document for people who  
>> read both
>> English and French" for example, ie. meta information about the  
>> document
>> itself.
> [...]
>> Metadata is actionable if some application is written to use it.   
>> It is not
>> actionable if the information is not available.
>
>
> Is there software that acts on the HTTP header or meta Content- 
> Language in the sense "This is a document for people who read both
> English and French"? What does software acting on that meaning do?

That is the definition for the header field Content-Language, which is
what is referred to by META http-equiv, and yes it is used by some
content management systems as a means for authors to define metadata
that will be returned by HTTP in a response and/or used in content
negotiation to choose the most appropriate representation.  WGN is
one of the HTTP servers that works that way by default, though I don't
know if anyone uses it now.  Apache can do that via modules.

In any case, all of the http-equiv attributes are defined by HTTP.
That is its definition in HTML.  As with refresh, HTML violates the
orthogonality principle when it tries to define meaning (any meaning)
for values that are specifically defined to be owned by other standards.
Don't go there.

....Roy
Received on Thursday, 21 August 2008 19:47:37 GMT

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