W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-html@w3.org > March 2010

Re: ISSUE-88 / Re: what's the language of a document ?

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Mar 2010 22:27:49 -0800
Cc: Richard Ishida <ishida@w3.org>, www-international@w3.org, public-html@w3.org, 'Maciej Stachowiak' <mjs@apple.com>
Message-Id: <DB1DD2F1-767E-4CA0-A0A6-EC50B41B2ACB@gbiv.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
On Mar 10, 2010, at 5:14 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> Also, note that using http-equiv is not setting metadata. It's setting 
> pragma directives for the user agent. If there is a solid use case here 
> for document-wide metadata concerning languages, we can certainly handle 
> it, but it would be best to handle it using the dedicated metadata 
> mechanisms (<meta name>, microdata, RDFa, a dedicated attribute like 
> lang="", or some other such mechanism.)

That is a completely false statement on all accounts.  First, it is
obviously data about the data, and thus metadata.  Second, it isn't
particularly intended for the user agent (the primary purpose for it
is for the author to help the server infrastructure understand the
audience of this content and thereby influence content negotiation).
meta http-equiv is a part of HTML specifically designed to assist
with content management.

>> And if you are using this to specify metadata, you must allow for 
>> multiple values.  What's more, changing the syntax of the pragma to 
>> accept only one language is likely to only further confuse people, in 
>> the opinion of the i18n WG, since it now appears to be more like the 
>> lang attribute, and in addition, the behaviour is different to previous 
>> versions of HTML, which further complicates explanations about how to 
>> handle language in HTML.
> Previous versions of HTML did not match reality. As such, I don't think 
> they're really relevant here.
> Reality is that the http-equiv="Content-Language" value is handled more or 
> less as defined in HTML5. It does not provide metadata; it can't handle 
> multiple values. When supported at all, it just sets the default for the 
> lang="" attribute.

Maybe if you looked beyond the functionality of five browsers then
you would have an inkling of its purpose and use.  I do not care what
the browsers "do" with that data -- their behavior is not definitive
with regard to metadata any more than their rendering algorithm is
definitive on the quality of my prose.  http-equiv is a statement by
the author, not the user agent, and thus your assumptions about its
functionality in HTML5 are wrong.

Received on Thursday, 11 March 2010 06:28:25 UTC

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