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Re: Conditional HTML w/<INSERT> (was: Microsoft IE)

From: David Ornstein <davido@apocalypse.org>
Date: Mon, 29 Jan 1996 12:17:58 -0800
Message-Id: <>
To: bsobilof@inet.ed.gov (Blake Sobiloff), www-talk@w3.org
At 02:47 PM 1/29/96 -0500, Blake Sobiloff wrote:
>At 1:12 PM 1/29/96, M. Hedlund wrote:
>[Description of <INSERT> structure]
>>* Doesn't stuff all possible variants into one document (avoids filesize
>>  bloat).
>I've heard a lot of people mention filesize bloat as a (potential) problem,
>but I wonder how much of a problem it really is. At least with the files I
>ride herd over, I doubt that many would more than double in size -- but
>then again, I'm pretty conservative with my document features, too. 

I'm sure that many of mine would increase 10-fold at least.  I do
User-Agent-based serving and the variations are pretty subtle sometimes.
For example, some browsers compress multiple &nbsp;  tags down to one space
and some don't.  The specs *seem* to say that compression is correct
behavior, but that's somewhat moot: there is currently a lot of variation in
how available browsers interpret this.  To get the layout I desire (let's
not argue about conent vs presentation stuff, ok?  it's been beat to death),
I have page fragments that are correct for browsers that do compress and
page fragments for those that don't compress.  Using the proposed <INSERT>
construct, I'd have to translate:

&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some text   (OR &nbsp;Some text)

to (roughly):

<INSERT SRC="http://www.name.dom/uncompressBasedPage.html" 
<PARAM NAME="condition" VALUE="vendor-compressnbsp/1.0">
&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;Some text  

This is a pretty big increase in the actual size of the file.

Another disadvantage to this approach (as I started to realize in an earlier
message I sent and as someone just pointed out) is that it's biased towards
new browsers: old versions will never support the new construct.  This is
good insofar as it encourages browser vendors to conform, but it's trouble
too 'cuz I can't do content negotiation with older browsers (as I can with

>Also, how am I going to test each of the
>different structures -- keep copies of the top five browsers for each
>platform handy? Yuck! (Maybe my worry is just an artifact of the current
>(lack of) automated / advanced tools?)

BrowserCaps [see my .sig] helps, but doesn't truely allow for testing.

David Ornstein
Outbreak: http://objarts.com/outbreak-unreg
BrowserCaps: http://objarts.com/bc
Personal Info: http://objarts.com/davido
Received on Monday, 29 January 1996 15:18:29 UTC

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