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Re: Language labelling

From: Francois Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>
Date: Sat, 22 Feb 1997 11:35:02 -0500
Message-Id: <>
To: Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no
Cc: "M.T. Carrasco Benitez" <carrasco@innet.lu>, WInter <www-international@w3.org>, Misha Wolf <misha.wolf@reuters.com>, <mduerst@ifi.unizh.ch>, Charles Wicksteed <charles.wicksteed@reuters.com>
À 11:42 21-02-97 +0100, Harald.T.Alvestrand@uninett.no a écrit :
>If I read RFC 2070 correctly, <HTML LANG=xx> is already legal HTML
>under that standard.

It certainly is, but the question at hand is a bit different.  Given that
we want to have a single language tag in a document (no potential
conflict), where is the best place to put it?

Tomas is for <META HTTP-EQUIV...> (also legal) because this is explicitely
designed for HTTP servers to pick up and send as an HTTP header.

I'm for <HTML LANG=xx>, because it fits into the structure of the HTML
document and applies to the whole document.  Although not designed
explicitly for this purpose, servers may still pick up a language tag from
there to put in an HTTP header.  This is not forbidden, just like indexing
engines are not forbidden to use the <TITLE>, some other special-purpose
<META> or even comments for their purposes.

If an HTML document is retrieved from something else than an HTTP server
and displayed, the HTML parser will be aware of a LANG attribute on <HTML>
and should do any language-dependent rendering correctly.  If it sees a
<META HTTP-EQUIV>, however, it may well think "this is only for HTTP
servers" and ignore it.  The standards do not require HTML parsers to know
anything about the meaning of HTTP headers found within <META> elements,
only to parse the latter correctly.

François Yergeau <yergeau@alis.com>
Alis Technologies Inc., Montréal
Tél : +1 (514) 747-2547
Fax : +1 (514) 747-2561
Received on Saturday, 22 February 1997 13:37:02 UTC

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