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Re: Value of content negotiation? [was RE: content negotiation anti-principle]

From: Elliotte Rusty Harold <elharo@metalab.unc.edu>
Date: Thu, 9 Jan 2003 07:59:40 -0500
Message-Id: <p04330101ba43212df337@[192.168.254.4]>
To: Gavin Thomas Nicol <gtn@rbii.com>, www-tag@w3.org

At 5:58 AM -0500 1/9/03, Gavin Thomas Nicol wrote:


>The main failure within the current world of content negotiation is that you
>have no way to say "I want a specific representation of a resource" from the
>application level. For example, if I do this:
>
>    <a href="foo.html">foo.html</a>
>
>there is an implicit requirement that the representation returned be in
>text/html (and of course, entities in XML are even more fragile), but I have
>no way of *forcing* that at the application level. So despite all the
>possible (if underused) benefits of negotiation in terms of robustness, it
>also engenders a degree of fragility.


Just throwing something out: Would it be A. Useful? and B. possible? 
to add  additional attributes to linking elements to specify the MIME 
type required? e.g.

<a href="foo/" type="text/plain">foo</a>
<img src="http://maps.yahoo.com/map?zip=10003" type="image/svg+xml" />

and  perhaps for language as well:

<a href="foo/" type="text/plain" lang="en-US; en-CA; en-GB; fr-FR">foo</a>

(yes that conflicts with the lang attribute in HTML so we probably 
need another name for the attribute, but you get the idea.)

I think language and MIME type are the two big ones that need to be 
negotiated. Character set and content encoding can fairly easily be 
transformed on the client side if necessary.
-- 

+-----------------------+------------------------+-------------------+
| Elliotte Rusty Harold | elharo@metalab.unc.edu | Writer/Programmer |
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|           Processing XML with Java (Addison-Wesley, 2002)          |
|              http://www.cafeconleche.org/books/xmljava             |
| http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ISBN%3D0201771861/cafeaulaitA  |
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Received on Thursday, 9 January 2003 08:04:38 GMT

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