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Re: meta content-language

From: Andrew Cunningham <andrewc@vicnet.net.au>
Date: Fri, 22 Aug 2008 10:14:09 +1000 (EST)
Message-ID: <f1609e59694b7f486fa29213524a7c0d.squirrel@newmail.vicnet.net.au>
To: "Robert J Burns" <rob@robburns.com>
Cc: "Leif Halvard Silli" <lhs@malform.no>, "Phillips, Addison" <addison@amazon.com>, "Henri Sivonen" <hsivonen@iki.fi>, "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>, "Richard Ishida" <ishida@w3.org>, "'Ian Hickson'" <ian@hixie.ch>, "'HTML WG'" <public-html@w3.org>, "www-international@w3.org" <www-international@w3.org>

On Fri, August 22, 2008 9:46 am, Robert J Burns wrote:
> Hi Leif,
> On Aug 22, 2008, at 1:27 AM, Leif Halvard Silli wrote:
>> Phillips, Addison 2008-08-21 22.06:
>>>>> In any case, all of the http-equiv attributes are defined
>>>>> by HTTP. That is its definition in HTML.
>>>> It's not the definition in HTML5 as drafted.
>>> I think the point is that it should be.
>> [...]
>>> I do support having the pragma, but it should have the meaning
>>> defined by RFC 2616 and (normatively) it should be consistent
>>> with the RFCs *and nothing more*. If Frontpage or Vignette or
>>> whatever want to do something useful with the information,
>>> bully for them. But don't set the page processing language by
>>> fiat or change the allowed format/values.
>> So is it your view that not only the HTML 5 draft, but even the HTML
>> 4 spec is wrong on this as well?
>> From HTML 4, Section 8.1.2, Inheritance of language codes:
>> An element inherits language code information according
>> to the following order of precedence (highest to lowest):
>>   * The lang attribute set for the element itself.
>>   * The closest parent element that has the lang attribute
>>     set (i.e., the lang attribute is inherited).
>>   * The HTTP "Content-Language" header (which may be
>>     configured in a server). For example:
>>     Content-Language: en-cockney
>>   * User agent default values and user preferences.
> My understanding is that we don't want that order of precedence
> changed. That is we don't want the meta pragma used by UAs when the
> lang attribute is present.
> On a slightly separate issue, I think we should make it clear that the
> language code should be the first one in the http Content-Language so
> that if a document has: <meta http-equiv='Content-Language'
> content='en, he'>, it treats and there's no lang attribute, it treats
> it as 'en' (which is I think what the current draft does).

Assuming the list is prioritized, which it may not, in which case taking
the first value is no better than taking a random value from the list.

I'd argue that Content-Language should be just metadata, informative and
not part of any language inheritance mechanism.

> True, but the other contention (not mine) is that the http-equiv
> pragmas are to be decoupled in HTML5 from their http definitions
> (leaving just their names as a historical artifact). The biggest
> problem I see with that is that we've seen no use cases or problem
> statements to justify such a (potentially very confusing) decoupling.

wouldn't that make inheritance a more thorny issue. If there is a HTTP
Response Header and also a meta element which would take precedence? You'd
have to support both in an algorithm.

But then if i were building an application to use metadata about language
in some decisive way, I'm probably not going to use the Content-Language
meta element but rather use a more specific metadata schema.

Just my two cents worth.

Andrew Cunningham
Research and Development Coordinator
State Library of Victoria

Received on Friday, 22 August 2008 00:14:50 UTC

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