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Re: SSI usefulness (was RE: OBJECT, inheritance, and rendering)

From: Brian Kelly <lisbk@ukoln.ac.uk>
Date: Fri, 7 Aug 1998 18:10:04 +0100
Message-ID: <045b01bdc226$3992f500$3c92268a@ulpc-bk-fire.bath.ac.uk>
To: Mike Meyer <mwm@contessa.phone.net>, www-html@w3.org
Hi Mike
     A comment on something you said.
...
>No, that's not what I'm saying. After you eliminate the fluff (like
>random quotes) and bad ideas (like pages that change the HTML based on
>the client), you're left with either real dynamic data - for which SSI
...>
> <mike


I used to feel that way about user-agent negotiation ("browser-sniffing")
and hoped that solutions such as transparent content negotiation (TCN) or
feature negotiation would enable new technologies to be deployed in an
elegant way.

However it seems that  TCN is taking forever to arrive.

I'm now finding myself taking a more pragmatic approach to what solutions I
once would have dismissed as architecturally unsound.  So, for example, how
do we deploy simple CSS features such as .margin-left in a world in which
probably the most widely used browser (Netscape 4)  has great difficulties
in printing documents containing such trivial, but useful CSS?  I'm inclined
to go for the bad idea of user-agent negotiation as I can't see an
alternative.   It's interesting that the W3C Core Styles gallery at
http://www.w3.org/StyleSheets/Core/ uses browser-sniffing to chose what CSS
to send (the files differ greatly, between about 200 and 800 lines for
Netscape and IE).

I've also spoken to W3C staff who seem to feel that deployment of support
for devices such as PDAs will require server-side processing - and not
sending a large file with CSS, JavaScript, etc. to your networked watch, PDA
or car computer.

Note that Jakon Neilson in his AlertBox at
http://www.useit.com/alertbox/980322.html argued that "The road to better
Web design is to move complexity and advanced design to the server
and provide more intelligently processed services to the users."  This
sounds like server-side processing.

I've written a article suggesting that the server-side processing could take
place in proxies.  See
http://www.ariadne.ac.uk/issue16/web-focus/

I'd be interested in your comments.

Thanks

Brian

------------------------------------------------------
Brian Kelly, UK Web Focus
UKOLN, University of Bath, BATH, England, BA2 7AY
Email:  b.kelly@ukoln.ac.uk     URL:    http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/
Homepage: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ukoln/staff/b.kelly.html
Phone:  01225 323943            FAX:   01225 826838
Received on Friday, 7 August 1998 13:12:00 GMT

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