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RE: Multiple versions of a page

From: Jason White <jasonw@ariel.ucs.unimelb.edu.au>
Date: Sun, 17 Mar 2002 10:42:08 +1100
Message-ID: <15507.55376.896297.374034@jdc.local>
To: Web Content Guidelines <w3c-wai-gl@w3.org>
I think the scenarios being discussed in this thread are rather more
limited than those which current and developing technologies are
intended to support. In particular, instead of considering what would
be the consequences of having, for example, three or four "different
versions" of a page, it would be more realistic to conceive of a page
generation mechanism which customizes the output sent to the user
agent, based on a profile. This profile may include details of user
agent characteristics (e.g., the kind of device on which the content
is to be rendered) as well as expressions of user preference. It may
be supplied manually by the user or automatically with CC/PP or other

Under these conditions, the output can be constructed to take account
of multiple needs, and a fortiori multiple disabilities, by including
all of the required features in accordance with the profile, and the
problem which is being discussed on this thread is solved, provided
the server supports all of the necessary adaptations. Of course, it is
likely that there will be some adaptations which won't be widely
supported by web servers. For example, braille coding and formatting
can only be carried out adequately by specialized software, which, I
expect, most web content developers won't obtain and install on their
servers (of course the vendors of such software would no doubt prefer
otherwise). Rather, this adaptation will take place at the "user
agent" end, or perhaps in a specialized proxy server under the control
of the user or of a third-party organization.

To allow for this possibility, it can be argued that content
developers should provide one options (that is, one profile) whereby a
semantically rich version of the content, suitable for adaptation by
other software further along the delivery chain. In fact, there is
already interest in this area, including specifications that allow the
originating server to impose constraints, for intellectual property or
other reasons, on the types of adaptations to which the content may be
subjected as it traverses the delivery path from the server, through any
intermediate proxies, to the user agent.
Received on Saturday, 16 March 2002 18:42:23 UTC

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