Re: Suggestion: ALTHREF attribute

James Green (jmkgre@essex.ac.uk)
Sat, 17 Jan 1998 21:50:09 +0000 (GMT)


From: James Green <jmkgre@essex.ac.uk>
To: www-html@w3.org
In-Reply-To: <3.0.5.32.19980116100731.007aede0@smtp.idt.net>
Message-Id: <SIMEON.9801172109.A@s1671.essex.ac.uk>
Date: Sat, 17 Jan 1998 21:50:09 +0000 (GMT)
Subject: Re: Suggestion: ALTHREF attribute


On Fri, 16 Jan 1998 10:07:31 -0500 jptxs <jptxs@IDT.NET> wrote:

[ snip general idea ]

> this all sounds great, but i think it could even be taken a step further.

Things can always be taken a step further. But should they?

> there could be a kind of "server side" HTML doc that had a whole list of
> options for the client such as different languages, abridged versions,
> versions of the same materials at different server locations.  I'm not
> really sure what the server side should be--now people do this sort of
> thing with Javascript and Perl.  It's possible that it may even be able to
> be pushed into CSS, seeing how some of these would effect the 'style' of
> the document.

The main focus should be to give the user and/or system alternate 
source of the information. Now, people such as the W3C are formed to 
ensure that any such solutions are as good as they can be, and on that 
note, I would have to say bog off to JavaScript, Perl and other such 
author actions and whey-hey to automation. Yes, CSS could be used, 
indeed it could be used for an awaful lot of things, but CSS was 
designed to help authors give better implementation of information to 
the user however (practically) they may need it. The source choice of 
the information should be chosen by machine - a primary school teacher 
wanting to show a class of 20 children how to see the school's home 
page does not want to have to faff about chosing options; if the source 
document is taking too long or the server decides that it's load is too 
much, the client should be instructed to take the request to the 
alternate source, should their be one. If that means having the server 
load up another document for reference purposes, so be it.

> >The only problem it does not solve is if the source document itself 
> >cannot be retrieved for some reason or another.
> 
> true, but there's not much to be done about that.

I would have to disagree with you there. The browser could say 'Cannot 
contact server', and then offer to search the search engines for 
alternate source of the same or similar information.

> >Whilst this could work, it strays from usability quite wildly. The only 
> >place it could be used is essentially in the corporate and professional 
> >world. Certainly, web pages would increase in size and therefore 
> >downloading times
> 
> with the instructions on the server, one could say that the document is not
> growing in size, but it does mean that the client has to hit the server
> again for another document--essentially losing some time.  but i'm apt to
> think that it would be less time than trying to parse all that info into
> the document.

Server's are invariably faster than clients (try getting a .jp address 
at peak times from Britain) for a number of reasons, if they don't want 
you, they should give you alternate sources whereever available.


Regards,

James Green

Term e-mail: jmkgre@essex.ac.uk   |   Home e-mail: jg@cyberstorm.demon.co.uk
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