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AW: AW: XHTML 2.0 and hreflang

From: Oskar Welzl <oskar.welzl@pan.at>
Date: Wed, 12 Nov 2003 21:27:22 +0100
To: "Christian Wolfgang Hujer" <Christian.Hujer@itcqis.com>, <www-html@w3.org>
Message-ID: <000601c3a95b$60bb1fa0$0100a8c0@mshome.net>
Hi Christian,

> hreflang describes the language of a resource. The resource might 
> exist in 
> multiple variants with different languages.
> That's what makes it different from xml:lang.
> While in <span xml:lang="de">Guten Tag</span> you can exactly say 
> that it's 
> german, for the resource http://www.hujer.com/start you can't, 
> because that 
> document is english or german depending on your user agent's 
> Accept-Language 
> header in its http request.


> I do not want to include the language name in the canonical URI 
> because I want 
> to keep it stable and the file name scheme might change. Also, I want the 
> canonical URI to be international. 


> But if the user chooses to override the user agent's settings by 
> willingly 
> choosing the German language variant, I'd like the German 
> variants to include 
> hreflang="de, en;q=0.8" in their links, telling the server that 
> the German 
> resource is preferred, and only if it doesn't exist, the English 
> one should 
> be chosen.

I don't understand this paragraph. If the *user* chooses to overrider the settings of his UA - well, he can do so, can't he? He can always change the settings of his UA. However, the user will not be able to change the hreflang-attribute of the document that links to the remote resource, will he?

My UA tells the server somewhere.net that german is my preferred language. In some UA I am free to change that if I'm interested in seeing english (french, turkish, chinese...) variants of the documents. Fine.
If, however, your personal homepage contains a link to www.somewhere.net, how could I influence the hreflang-attribute in this link so that it will contain english as its first entry when I want to see the english version? Or how would you know which languages a potential visitor of your homepage would be interested in so that you could include them to the hreflang-list when authoring the document?

All you could possibly do is either

a) include *all* languages supported by somewhere.net, so that I as the user will know that the site is available in english as well as in german. This doesn't lead to any sort of negotiation, though. It's only for my information; negotiation, in this case, would take place between my UA and somewhere.net without using your hreflang.


b) include the one specific language you *want* my user agent to request from somewhere.net. In this case, the value of hreflang would in fact override the settings of my UA, but it's not me (the user) who's in control, it's you, the author of the link. This would mean that although I don't understand turkish and although turkish characters are not supported by my system, you would be able to force me to the turkish version of somewhere.net - although it's available in german. I do not think it is wise to allow authors to do this. I think if an authour absolutely wants to point to a certain language version of a document, bypassing any default language negotiation between the remote resource and the UA, he can use deep linking. There's nothing wrong with pointing to a document using it's full URI. Giving hreflang this meaning would completely change its concept from 'additional information about the resource' to 'part of the URI'.  

Received on Wednesday, 12 November 2003 15:26:13 UTC

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