W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > February 2006

Re: hreflang

From: Oskar Welzl <lists@welzl.info>
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 2006 13:53:39 +0100
To: W3C HTML List <www-html@w3.org>
Message-Id: <1139230419.22679.54.camel@erde.hormayrgasse>


I dont know why I get the feeling I read this before ;-) 
Still, I think it's a wonderful example of how different our approaches
are. Probably it would have been better to introduce @acceptlang into
XHTML2 (not naming it @hreflang to avoid exactly this confusion) and
then discuss if we still need @hreflang the way it is (which I think we
The current discussion suffers from the fact that both sides want
something that is reasonable; unfortunately, both want to label it
If it helps, I'd suggest that HTML 4.01-hreflang should be named
@langinfo in XHTML, I couldnt care less. I only want its functionality
and a working hook for CSS-styling. 

Your example is great because it shows me that the HTML4-version
actually does a better job:

> Here's the example:
> Suppose someone whose preferred language (in their browser language
> preferences) is German clicks on
> Here is what a user who is expecting a Japanese document will get in 
> each case:
> 1)Japanese	Japanese
> 2)German	Japanese
> 3)Chinese	Depends on webmaster
> 4)German	Depends on webmaster
> 5)Random	Depends on webmaster

Assuming that an end user whose preferred language is German does
actually prefer German documents, in 2 of 5 cases HTML4 gives the better
result, whereas XHTML2 never returns the German version.

You'd now probably say that the intention was to serve the Japanese
version. Now, we are able to link to japanese documents right now, since
the very beginning of HTML: We use @href for that. In doing so, we can
even bookmark them! No need to re-invent the wheel.

> I would strongly assert that this is better user experience

BTW: My personal history of teaching in computer classes tells me that
people map the content of the address bar in their browsers to
documents. They know this concept from browsing drive C:. The idea of
URIs that might return anything depending on the context and a dozen
hidden parameters is not particularly user friendly and should be well

Received on Monday, 6 February 2006 12:51:40 UTC

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