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Re: Defining the language of a document

From: Karl Ove Hufthammer <huftis@bigfoot.com>
Date: Thu, 27 Dec 2001 15:39:21 +0100
Message-Id: <a0ffb6.3vudjc1.1@ID-99504.news.dfncis.de>
To: www-international@w3.org
Cc: g.bartol@comune.prato.it
2001-12-27 14:04:38, Gabriele Bartolini

> 1 - Using content negotiation

Please do.

> I could use the content negotiation, given by Apache and
> *trust* the HTTP_ACCEPT_LANGUAGE directive sent by the user
> agent.

See <URL: http://ppewww.ph.gla.ac.uk/~flavell/www/lang-neg.html >
and <URL: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/multi/ >.

> By doing this, I should organize the site as Yergeau
> and Durst propose in their article about multilingual Web,
> by subjects and topics rather than language, naming files
> by putting the ISO language code between file name and
> extension.


> For instance, index.it.html and index.en.html .

'index.html.it' and 'index.html.en' is slightly better.

> Can you please tell me some pros and cons?

See the links above.

> for instance if I am in 'index.it.html' given
> automatically back to the user by the server, and I want to
> put a link to the english index, how could I implement it?

<URL: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/multi/2.html >
<URL: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/multi/3.html >
<URL: http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/multi/4.html >

> Like: <a href="index.en.html">


> Which one so you suggest me?

Content negotiation.

> 3 - How to set the main language of an HTML document
> I also have another question regarding the setting of the
> language of an HTML document. How can I set it and through
> which tags? Should I use the SGML doctype declaration
> somehow?

No, that's fixed to 'EN' (which is the language of the HTML

> Or should I use a generic tag with the lang
> attribute properly set? Do you think that :
> <html lang="it">
> [ here goes the document ]
> </html>
> works?

Yes. (AFAIK, it doesn't have any effect in current browsers,
but it's the correct way to specifiy the language, in addition
to the HTTP 'Content-Language' header, of course.)

> I don't think it is 'a good way' of doing it.

It is a good way. In *addition*, I believe Apache automatically
sends the correct 'Content-Language' header when you use
content negotiation.

Karl Ove Hufthammer
Received on Thursday, 27 December 2001 09:40:33 UTC

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