W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > February 2001

RE: client side includes

From: Murray Macdonald <murray@mha.ca>
Date: Fri, 2 Feb 2001 22:53:56 -0800
Message-ID: <D00C91AAE6F2D311BAE1005004D16880380FAF@camel.mha.ca>
To: "'www-html@w3.org'" <www-html@w3.org>
Dear people,

I am surprised that no one on this list has mentioned the obvious flaw in this logic.  It makes me wonder what kind of people are on this list.   Includes in HTML are a very inefficient way to achieve the desired results.  As with JavaScript includes, a client-side include would require another round trip (from the UA to the server and back again) before the page could be fully rendered.  End users do not want to wait for two or more pages to load, let alone one.  If designers nested client side includes (an include a file that includes a file that includes a file...) this would increase the delays by multiples.  Remember, includes do nothing for the end user, they are merely a convenience for the programmer to assist in site management and code reuse.  To do so at the expense of your user's experience is a very poor and selfish design philosophy.  Also, client side includes would not support any of the existing UAs.  Do you really want to abandon millions of users like that??!
? and for what benefit?

Using Server-side includes by comparison achieves all the same advantages, reduces server load, causes fewer hits on the web server, speeds up the experience for the viewer (by a multiple), works with all existing UAs, reduces UA memory requirements and complexity, and reduces all around net traffic and latencies.  Also, nested server-side includes (a file that includes a file that includes a file...) have nominal impact on the server and the user.  Nested includes are a convenient (and sometimes required) way to efficiently manage content and code reuse...and after all that's what you're looking to achieve right?  Would you (or your users) really be content with a solution that slowed down many times to offer you the convenience of realistic include usage?

Also, I am wondering, how many of you people serve HTML off a web server that does not already support SSI, perl, PHP or some other more efficient solution?  Certainly IIS, Apache and any other self-respecting web server has had this functionality for many years.  Are you people promoting this just unaware of how to use the functionality you already have?

How could any client-side syntax you are suggesting be more efficient or easier to use than:

   <?php include "foo.html"?>

You people seem like don't know what you are doing, and have not taken the time to read the manual.  I hope none of you charge people for your "services" because suggesting or implementing this type of a solution would be of no service to your clients or their end users.  It would only serve to allow under educated "designers" keep their heads buried in the sand at the expense of their client and users.  Try learning.  Its not a scary as you might think.

--Murray Macdonald.
Received on Saturday, 3 February 2001 01:52:49 UTC

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