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Re: Language choice for default Web page

From: Martin Duerst <duerst@w3.org>
Date: Thu, 26 Sep 2002 08:07:35 +0900
Message-Id: <>
To: <ysavourel@translate.com>, www-international@w3.org

Hello Yves,

At 10:21 02/09/25 -0600, Yves Savourel wrote:
>According the HTML specification
>(http://www.w3.org/TR/html401/types.html#type-links), if I add the following
>meta element to my index.htm page (served by an ISP I don't have control
>  <link rel="alternate" lang="fr" href="index_fr.htm" hreflang="fr"/>
>shouldn't then the default page be automatically redirected to index_fr.htm
>if I point to the root of the web site without specifying a page and if my
>browser has its preference settings listing FR as its first choice?

Well, it may be that a very 'intellingent' Web server would do so,
but I don't know any Web server that would actually do it.
To set things on the server, you have to use server-specific

The purpose of the <link> statement above is that browsers can
somehow show to the user: This page is also available in French.
The actual handling depends on the browser, many of them may
not show it.

>It doesn't seem to work on IE 6 or NN 7. (although the pages have also their
>language-content set properly, and the lang attribute set).

Okay, so you think that it's not the server that should serve
the French version directly, but the browser should download
the document and say 'hey, this says that there is a French
version here, so I'll get that and show it instead'.

This is again not what's supposed to happen, because with such
a system, it would be impossible for you to have a look at the
current non-English page. Language negotiation isn't supposed
to forbid you to see other language versions, just to get
to your preferred version first.

>- I am mis-interpreting the specification?


>- Is it necessary to set something on the server-side as well?


>- Are the browsers simply not support it?

The various <link /> constructs are indeed not very well supported.

>In other words: how to get the browser to pick the right language default
>page when you don't control the server? (and using only standard HTML).

Change your ISP :-).

Regards,    Martin.
Received on Wednesday, 25 September 2002 20:41:51 UTC

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