Re: Suppressed content in HEAD: myth or reality?

Brian Behlendorf (
Wed, 3 May 95 17:45:46 EDT

On Wed, 3 May 1995, Lou Montulli wrote:
> On May 3, 4:06pm, Dan Connolly wrote:
> > Are folks willing to count on this convention, even though there are a
> > lot of browsers out there that don't abide by it? (e.g Mosaic 2.4).
> It is safe to say that at least 90-95% of the browsers in use today
> do not hide what's in the <HEAD>.

I'd say "90-95% of the browser-using public is using a browser that doesn't
do this correctly" instead. Of course, someone there at your company could
be a champ and make this number dive to 15-20% with about 1/2 hour of work.

> > Then, at a larger scope, do all changes to HTML have to be completely
> > backward compatible, or do we have any faith in format negociation and
> > down-translation?
> Format negociation has never been widely deployed and probably will
> never be since it is still dependent on large chunks of bandwidth
> wasting headers sent with every request.

Oh, yes, it takes a ton more bandwidth to add that "text/html;
version=2.1" to the Accept: header. It might even require another

It's very discouraging to hear "it will never be deployed because no one else
is doing it" from a company that has gone out of its way to experiment with
"cool tricks" and call them features.

> > If we don't believe in format negociation, then all style info has
> > to go in attributes. We can never add a new block element.
> We can add more block elements but we need to be aware of the
> very serious cost that we are imposing on the web. As a
> result new block elements should be avoided whenever possible.

Content negotiation is *the*way* to make this as painless as possible.
The "serious cost" is zero when I have a server that will automatically
serve a more advanced data type only to those sites that can accept it,
and a downconverted version of that file type to others as appropriate.

The Netscape crew could add all the new tags they want, label it
text/x-Mozilla-html, have the Netscape browsers tell the server they
accept it, and the servers can downconvert to non-Netscape clients.


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