Re: Format Negotiation in Practice [Was: Versioning HTML at the server]

Gavin Nicol (
Wed, 19 Oct 1994 08:53:25 +0100

>> What we really, really need is:
>> 1) A "text/sgml" type that allows one to send the information, the
>> stylesheet, and the DTD.
>The content type is not that simple is the stylesheet is not in
>SGML. You'll probably need to use a multipart/mixed.

Well, as you note, sending a DTD and stylesheet every time one gets
anything is hardly practical. What I imagined is sending the data as
text/sgml or somesuch, and then having DTD and stylesheets sent only
if they are not in cache or on disk. Actually, the DTD can be found in
the DOCTYPE declaration, so only a way to map that is needed, we don't
need to declare what is in use.

>> 2) A stylesheet definition language (DSSSL? I don't know anything
>> about it).
>How would the language support differing display devices: text,
>monochrome, color, displays for the deaf and blind?

As I said, I don't know about DSSSL, but I imagine that one
could accomplish such tailoring via different stylesheets. To be
perfectly honest, I think there will probably need to be more than one
formatting language to meet all needs. For example, a visually
oriented formatting language is useless for the blind unless you can
also map everything onto an aural or tactile clue. I don't think this
is possible. This of course opens the can of worms "How does one
specify stylesheets? How does one *select* stylesheets?"

>Who'll need anything from EBT, if free WWW clients adopt SGML :-)

EBT is not in the browser market. It is in the publishing tools

I might not have a job next week though... ;-)

Gavin "NOT speaking even for myself!" Nicol