W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-html@w3.org > March 2007

Re: Control Text-file Embedding in HTML-docs

From: Jacques Steyn <Jacques.Steyn@infotech.monash.edu>
Date: Thu, 29 Mar 2007 18:20:11 +0200
Message-ID: <460BE73B.5040700@infotech.monash.edu>
Cc: www-html@w3.org

This responds to the following comments:

 > The reason to have the TXT-files is reuse and "update-in-one-place" 
only.(Due Per)
 > to use either a scripting language to build the page from smaller 
templates, or use an off-line document pre-processor (Tina Holmboe)
 >I don't think this is an HTML problem (Gareth Hay)
 > e.g. If you are trying to do something like add a footer to every  
page (Gareth Hay)
 > [use] server-side includes (Philip Taylor)
 > solutions have been created using PHP, JSP,  ASP, and so on (and 
indeed Javascript). (Steven Pemberton)

It seems to me this discussion revives what was originally intended with 
the W3C "Fragments" and "Info-set" discussions of many years ago, but 
which seem to have died sometime along the way.

HTML does not handle images or scripts, but it has placeholders for 
processes that handle such objects. Browsers handle the rendering of 
images, so why not let browsers handle external text files as well? It 
may be true that we are forced to use scripts and script includes to 
combine fragments of text sources into the delivered text, but it would 
be so much easier if a document could be produced by constructing it 
from various sources (which is what we do with Ajax in any case).
The XHTML Embedding Attributes Module seems to be the kind of solution 
we should be looking for here.

If I could add another angle here: most of you probably have broadband 
access, or at least good internet access. I am involved with Development 
Informatics in emerging economies. The largest proportion of this 
globe's population do not have that luxury. So we need solutions that 
can be used in low bandwidth contexts.

When a user accessess an HTML page of which the content changes 
irregularly, we want only the bit that changes to be fetched, while the 
rest of the document is retrieved form the local cache. This would 
result in a huge saving in network traffic, which developed areas do not 
care about, but which is a major concern to us.

Form this perspective it is essential that document fragments be 
identifiable, and easily be replaceable, ideally by using markup which 
identifies this, and browsers doing the work of fetching relevent 
fragments and putting final documents together. This is simple to do -- 
why leave it for scripting languages?

___________________________
Dr Jacques Steyn
Head: School of IT
Monash South Africa

+27-11-950-4132 Phone
+27-11-950-4133 Fax
+27-83-296-9122 Mobile

http://sit.monash.ac.za
jacques.steyn@infotech.monash.edu
Received on Thursday, 29 March 2007 16:22:00 GMT

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