On Monday, I posted text about strategic decisions on the relation
between content negotiation and the `main' HTTP/1.1 protocol as it
will be specified in the new 1.1 draft.  These decisions were agreed
on by the the editorial group working on the new HTTP/1.1 draft.

There have been not comments about strong disagreement with this
strategy, so I now declare that there appears to be rough consensus on
negotiation strategy.  I include the strategy text that was posted on
Monday below.  Unless further comment is heard, this will close out
the strategy issue.



Strategy decisions on the the relation between content negotiation and
the `main' HTTP/1.1 protocol

The main goals of the strategy are 1) to avoid the risk that
disagreement about content negotiation would delay consensus on the 1.1
draft until after May 1, while 2) not blocking a smooth introduction
of content negotiation after May 1.

The plans are as follows:

- as announced earlier in a message by Jim Gettys, (Proposed structure
of HTTP 1.1 document(s), Mon, 18 Mar 96 15:03:18 -0500), the content
negotiation text in draft-holtman-http-content-negotiation-00.txt will
not be merged with the main HTTP/1.1 document.  An updated version of
draft-holtman-http-content-negotiation-00.txt will appear in April,
and it is hoped that consensus on it can be reached in May.

- Section 12 of the old 1.1 draft (which gave an incomplete definition
of a content negotiation mechanism) will not be present in the new 1.1

- There will be a Vary header in the 1.1 draft, so that HTTP/1.1 can
support opaque negotiation on language in a reasonably efficient

- There will be Accept* headers in the 1.1 draft.  With respect to the
Accept* headers previous draft, numerous small improvements are made;
these improvements reflect the consensus of the content negotiation

- There will be `hooks' in the 1.1 draft to ensure that all HTTP/1.1
caches will be compatible, though not in an optimally efficient way,
with a transparent content negotiation mechanisms like the mechanism
defined in draft-holtman.  Thus, transparent content negotiation
(which is what Section 12 of the old 1.1 draft covered incompletely)
won't have to wait for HTTP/1.2 if HTTP/1.2 turns out to take too
long, it can be done on top of HTTP/1.1. 

- The `hooks' for transparent content negotiation consist mainly of an
Alternates header definition which defines the Alternates header as
synonymous with a certain Vary header.  Also, some language in the
draft will announce that a negotiation mechanism using Alternates is

Received on Thursday, 4 April 1996 14:56:18 UTC