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"Content negotiation"

From: William F. Hammond <hammond@sarah.albany.edu>
Date: Tue, 7 Nov 1995 11:13:46 -0500 (EST)
Message-Id: <199511071613.LAA25536@phoebe.math.albany.edu>
To: www-talk@w3.org
Kee Hinckley <nazgul@utopia.com> writes:

: We have dozens of browsers in our "browser-negotiation" database.
: Including items listing the features that we believe Microsoft's browser
: supports.  However until someone proposes a way to tell me via the headers
: that this browser supports '<p align=3Dcenter>' and that this browser
: supports tables but not percentage widths, and this one supports tables
: within tables but not with forms in them; I'm going to have to keep doing
: browser-based presentation.  I can live with that.  What really gets me
: though is trying to figure out whether I need to send a RealAudio file, a
: WAV file, an AU file or an AIFF file.  Why the !@#$% aren't the major
: browser manufacturors sending that helper-application information?
: Kee Hinckley      Utopia Inc. - Cyberspace Architects=81    617.768.5500
: nazgul@utopia.com                               http://www.utopia.com/

Does this mean that you will ignore me if my user-agent is not in your
BND ("browser- negotiation database") OR if my request has no user-agent
header line.  What if I'm HTTP/0.9 ?

Is this the way HTTP protocol is supposed to work?

Have I missed something?  Is "user-agent" *required*?

Have patience with those who are not up to speed.  After all, there
are VERY FEW web browsers that are not three years stale with GOPHER
protocol.  8-)

And have patience with those who do not live in a GUI.  (I live in
a GUI only about half the time.)

IMHO the content-type (please don't say "media-type") "text/html"
is in serious danger of being stretched beyond recognition.
Many default pages out there are, in fact, "application/x-foobrowser".

Many such pages are useless in the very popular browser "lynx".

And HTTP protocol needs "text/html" to be robust.

William F. Hammond                   Dept. of Mathematics & Statistics
518-442-4625                                  The University at Albany
hammond@math.albany.edu                      Albany, NY 12222 (U.S.A.)
http://math.albany.edu:8000/~hammond/                FAX: 518-442-4731
Received on Tuesday, 7 November 1995 11:14:26 UTC

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