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Re: Correspondence between web-pages and Info-pages

From: Kelly Dean
Subject: Re: Correspondence between web-pages and Info-pages
Date: Fri, 02 Jan 2015 19:08:06 +0000

chad wrote:
> If the info browser is re-parsing the URL anyway, whats the value
> added by forcing any change into the web server at all?

Suppose Emacs gets an integrated browser, that displays both HTML pages and 
Info pages. Like Firefox is an integrated browser for HTML and PDF. In the 
latter case, if some document is available in both versions, you can often pick 
which one you want by just swapping ⌜.html⌝ vs. ⌜.pdf⌝ at the end of the URL. 
If both the HTML and PDF versions of a page were named ⌜foo⌝ (or even worse, 
both were named ⌜foo.html⌝), how would you pick which one to request from the 
server? Would you have the web browser send a different request header, so that 
the name of the PDF version is ⌜foo⌝ plus that header? That's the bad idea I 
argued against in my original message.

One of the desired features that other people have already expressed in this 
thread is for Info files to be available on the web, and enable the Info 
browser to automatically download files that it doesn't already have cached 
when you try to open URLs for Info pages that are in those files. So having a 
single name that resolves to an HTML page online in a web browser, but to an 
Info page offline in an Info browser, doesn't work. The Info browser has to 
work online, and it's logical to integrate it with the web browser, which means 
there must be a way to specify Info vs. HTML for the page you want. And you 
specify what you want by using the name of it. That name should be a URL, not a 
URL plus something else.

And the only change ‟forced into the web server” is to have the name ⌜foo⌝ 
resolve to a redirect page (which is already a standard feature available in 
web server software), so that names are just URLs, and clients, not servers, 
choose whether to redirect to foo.html (specified by the Location header, 
compatible with standard web browsers) or to the Info file specified by the 
Info-file header (which Emacs's Info browser will understand). An 
HTML-Info-integrated browser in Emacs will understand both, so it can offer the 
user a choice. If you prefer Info, and people send you post-redirect names to 
HTML, you can tell Info to automatically chop off the ⌜.html⌝ extension. If you 
prefer HTML, no change is necessary. When you send people names, you or they 
can chop off the ⌜.html⌝. The name with no extension is simply a way to 
automatically give people a link to both formats of the page, not just to one 
or the other.

The value added is:
There's a single name that points to both the Info and HTML pages, as Stefan 
The choice is made by the client, as explained above and in my original message.
The design enables clean integration of the HTML browser and the Info browser 
in the future.

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