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Re: content negotiation for language in web pages

Moving this to debian-www where I meant to post it in the first place.

> > 3. Similar to 2, but each language references the pages in its language,
> >    e.g. index.html.de would reference vendors.html.de . At the main
> >    page the user would get a language (either by content negotiation
> >    or by explicitly choosing the language by using one of the cross-links)
> >    and all links followed after that would be in that language.
> >    Someone jumping into a different page would have no idea other languages
> >    existed.
> 	More bad points: If a German sends the French his bookmarks,
> 	the French gets the page in German. I think URLs should not
> 	contain the language used, if avoidable.
Minor annoyance. I'm sure people will figure this out.

> > Personally, I see number 3 as the way to go. Of course, other opinions/
> > additional ideas are welcome.
> 	How about this: Use 2 (content negotiation all the way), 
> 	have pseudo-servers www.<lang>.debian.org, put all the
> 	AddLanguages inside the virtualhosts, and don't tell the
> 	www.<lang>.debian.org vhost about any other language than
> 	<lang>. That way one can force a certain language by using a
> 	certain server.
Two problems here. First, we already use www.<country>.debian.org
which uses the same 2 letter codes for the country and are located
in the country stated. This leads to the second point which you seem to
have missed - we have no control over these mirrors. It was decided a
while ago that to avoid administration problems we would make
as few demands on the mirrors as possible (if you think this is a
minor request, you should have seen the problems created when some of
the mirrors weren't updating frequently enough. It took months to
get that resolved. It's never as easy as you think when other people
are involved).

> 	For mirrors you could create a mirror.wanderer.org that has a
> 	directory for every language (<Directory>s with AddLanguages?
> 	redirects? proxying? no extra space needed..), and non-negotiable
> 	mirrors (no pun intended;) could mirror this. It would be like
> 	option #1 for mirrors. Or have them mirror www.<lang>.debian.org to
> 	subdir <lang>.
> 	There is one point open: how to let negotiating mirrors mirror
> 	*all* the languages.. Ftp?
> 	Also, with www.<lang>.debian.org, there might be slight annoyances
> 	with missing translations -- but with clever use of mod_rewrite or
> 	ErrorDocument you could make it fetch the English page..
I agree that content negotiation is the optimal way to go. The problem
is that we are trying to come up with a solution that works for all
servers, all browsers and ignorant users. It also must fit in with the
distributed nature of Debian's web pages (until recently, we didn't
even control www.debian.org. It's just a mirror like all the others, btw).
So while we can request that the mirrors implement content negotiation,
it is doubtful they will all do it.

The simplicity and foolproof nature of the second solution is convincing
me that that is the way to go.

- Jay

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