content-type preferences [Was: Re: <PRE tab-width=4> (Thumbs Down) ]

Keith M. Corbett (
Fri, 27 Jan 95 13:19:31 EST

At 12:42 PM 1/27/95 EST, Daniel W. Connolly wrote:

>I have argued for a CONTENT-TYPE attribute on the <A> element for
>over two years. There are cases where the author of the link knows
>more than the receiving browser can infer about the content type.

..and cases where the viewer needs to know in advance if the file is useful.
The file extension is not meaningful to all users all the time.

>So we should be able to write:
> <a href="foo.c" content-type="text/tabbed; tab-width=4">foo.c</a>

This is a *great* idea in terms of HTML. I've been wondering about the http
side of this issue.

(Sorry if this is completely obvious, I've never dealt with http except to
install NCSA v1.3 for Windows. :)

Is there any facility in http to negotiate with the client and serve up the
most appropriate rendering of a link target in a format that is best for the
client? I might want to provide pdf, ps, hpcl, or some other print format,
depending on what the user prefers. Or I might want to send .zip to a
Windows client and .tar.gz to a Unix client.

I suppose the platform information would have to be filled into a form by
the user...? There should be a better protocol for the client to pass
content type preferences to the server.