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Indicating browser support for XHTML1.0

From: Chris Haynes <chris@harvington.org.uk>
Date: Tue, 20 Nov 2001 23:53:10 -0000
Message-ID: <003501c1721e$82abd850$0200000a@RINGO>
To: "www-html" <www-html@w3.org>
Please forgive this newbie if this is the wrong place to post this
question.

I'm developing a network-hosted application which generates most of
its code dynamically. My target market is a broad-based international
business community which cannot be expected to have up-to-date
browsers.

I can decide at run-time - on a  session-by-session basis - whether to
generate XHTML1.0-conformant code (tested using the W3C validation
service), or to drop back to HTML4.01 for the 'legacy' browsers.

I can offer the best presentation (and better performance) using
XHTML, so obviously I would like to use this whenever the user has a
browser which can support it.

My problem: how do I tell which browsers support XHTML1.0?

At the moment I'm parsing the HTTP UserAgent data, and then applying a
combination of my own test results and vendor claims to decide which
versions of which browsers to send XHTML to.

This is unsatisfactory and inelegant for reasons I won't enumerate
here.

My (naive?) hope is that browsers might announce which versions they
can accept along the HTMLn ... XHTMLn standards track..

Inspecting the HTTP headers produced by MSIE6. NS6.2 and Opera 6, I
see that NS6.2 includes the 'application/xhtml+xml' mime type in its
'Accept' list, but neither of the others appear to have anything that
could help (all three function correctly with the generated XHTML code
I've tested).

The 'text/html' type does not help with version numbers, nor does the
new mime type.

I've studied the June and Oct  threads in this list on this new mime
type, and its not clear to me that, even with IETF approval and its
implementation by all browser vendors, it would actually provide the
distinction I am looking for.

Is 'application/xhtml+xml' intended to provide this distinction, or is
there anything else in the W3C recommendations which would serve this
purpose?

Has there been any consideration given to indicating agent capability
at the major/minor version level?

Regards,

Chris Haynes
Received on Tuesday, 20 November 2001 18:54:59 GMT

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