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Re: Accessibility - A perfect solution?

From: Charles McCathieNevile <charles@w3.org>
Date: Wed, 24 Jan 2001 00:57:44 -0500 (EST)
To: David Woolley <david@djwhome.demon.co.uk>
cc: <w3c-wai-ig@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.30.0101240049480.25945-100000@tux.w3.org>
On Tue, 23 Jan 2001, David Woolley wrote:

  >
  > Now, admittedly, this is an imperfect solution.  Please refrain from any
  > nitpicking of it to death.  It is presented as a theoretical solution.  As
  > of today, I do not believe that the user agents 'send' any kind of
  > identifying data with each file request.  Doesn't mean they won't in the
  > future.  It is just an idea.

A fairly good, if characteristically pessimistic explanation of content-
negotiation facilities in HTTP 1.0 - which is out of date, but is the base
level for what is out there now.

These features are used on the W3C website quite a lot. In particular we have
language negotiation, and most images are served by content negotiation.
That's why they don't have a .something extension - there is likely to be a
PNG, a GIF and SVG version of some things, and depending on what your browser
claims it can handle we'll send out the best useful version of the image.
Likewise, you can send a request for a URI asking for either image content or
RDF content, and get either the image at that URI or the RDF that is
associated with that URI. (For certain images.)

  > A prediction I'll make is that any company producing this kind of in-process
  > application would flat make tons of money.  And, if you need someone to be
  > the developmental lead on it...well, you know how to reach me.  :)

CMN I am not so sure that people are going to make instant fortunes on this -
as Kynn said, there are companies such as his who are already working in the
area. But it is clearly a strategy that has application.

DJW
  Most web sites are designed by non-techies, who only know HTML, or
  ASP generation of HTML.  Doing this sort of content negotiation requires
  knowledge of HTTP and how to properly configure a web server.  People
  running cheap web site normally don't have access to configure the server.

  Apache does have significant support for this, but the latest IIS
  documentation, I've seen, would require relatively low level ASP
  programming, rather than the declaritive form used by Apache.

  When this came up before, it was said that W3C were working on a protocol
  to allow browsers to list individual capabilities in requests, but I'd
  be surprised if the big 2 allowed users to customise them, and it will
  take a long time before there is enough market penetration to make a
  difference.

CMN The technology in question is called CC/PP - again, Kyn is one of the
people involved in the working groups. There is also significant support from
people working in the area of mobile communications - such unknown names as
Ericsson, NEC and Panasonic spring to my mind - and I believe that in fact
there is implementation experience, although since this is still development
work they may change to match an eventual Recommendation.

Charles McCN


-- 
Charles McCathieNevile    http://www.w3.org/People/Charles  phone: +61 409 134 136
W3C Web Accessibility Initiative     http://www.w3.org/WAI    fax: +1 617 258 5999
Location: I-cubed, 110 Victoria Street, Carlton VIC 3053, Australia
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Received on Wednesday, 24 January 2001 00:57:47 GMT

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