W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > w3c-wai-gl@w3.org > October to December 1998

Re: HTTP guidelines

From: Nir Dagan <nir@nirdagan.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 1998 04:40:53 GMT
Message-Id: <199812151929.UAA24077@sahara.upf.es>
To: w3c-wai-gl@w3.org
It is true that many sites are hosted in a fashion that 
limits the maintainer's ability to configure the server. 
Yet I think that there are many who can configure 
their servers and don't, as well as many who would 
like to be able to configure their servers if they were 
aware of the disadvantages of a misconfigured server.

With respect to Chris's comment: 
"...I believe most authors have no control over their server settings. 
They don't have their own domain name; they're hosted as a user web 
under their web presence provider. They have neither the authority, 
skills, nor inclination to modify server settings."

1. A great deal of servers in use (e.g. Apache ) allow 
a great deal of configuration to be excuted via text files located 
in the same directories were the HTML files are located. As every site 
maintainer has access to upload their HTML files they can upload 
the configuration files likewise. I think that most commercial 
providers allow for some configuration on individual accouts.
Restrictions are done mainly with respect to server load and 
security considerations.

2. The skills needed to write these files are not more complicated 
than doing some quasi-HTML hack that achieves a similar effect
in a less efficient way. A simple example is HTTP redirect 
vs. META refresh tag.

3. A great deal of websites that run on their own domain 
and even on dedicated servers use quasi-HTML hacks instead of
HTTP. Just go to microsoft.com with a browser that doesn't refresh 
automatically with META refresh and see what happens.
I am sure that this site doesn't run on a free Geocities account.

4. These site maintainers that cannot configure their server
should be aware of the disadvantages of this situation.

In respect to Chris's other comment:

"I don't think W3C currently has any appropriate location for such issues, since 
it doesn't fall under Authors, Authoring Tools, or User Agents. Maybe W3C needs 
to add "Webmaster Guidelines" to identify the responsibilities and skillsets involved 
in optimizing server settings for accessibility considerations."

Here I absolutely disagree. We don't have separate guidelines for the 
producer of the text, the HTML coder, the graphics designer, 
the producer of video clips and the programmer of Java applets.

In many websites these functions and more are done by 
separate individuals. W3C doesn't tell them how to coordinate 
their tasks. From the W3C's view all of these functions are a 
done by a single entity "the author" or "content provider". 
Administration of the server is one of the tasks of 
the "content provider".  


Nir Dagan, Ph.D.

"There is nothing quite so practical as a good theory." 
-- A. Einstein
Received on Tuesday, 15 December 1998 14:39:46 UTC

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