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From Paul Ausbeck <>
Subject Re: Compression via content negotiation
Date Wed, 02 Dec 1998 21:22:20 GMT wrote:
> Need to be careful about assuming that even the
> latest versions of 'the big 2' browsers support 'Accept-Encoding'.
> Have to remember that the only reason gzip has been
> dropped into these browsers was to support the new
> .PNG graphics format.

I do not believe this is the case. It is clear from reading MS doc that
they have spent considerable effort putting compression into their
internet information server. In fact, I believe that the main reason MS
put both gzip and deflate compression into the browser is to work with
their server. PNG support is just a sideshow.

I am not sure what Netscape has done on their server so I will
investigate. Probably similar to MS though. 

> Also... with regards to having documents around that
> are ONLY 'gzipped'... what about search engines? ...

All compression schemes of which I am aware make both compressed and
uncompressed versions available. Returning compressed files if the agent
has explicitly requested such and uncompressed files otherwise.

> For that matter... what will a FIREWALL do if it gets
> a completely GZIPPED HTML document? Won't be
> able to identify it and users will be wondering 'what's wrong?'.

I thought that firewalls operated at the protocol level. I didn't know
they were concerned with content. If someone knows more on this, please

> When you consider that the 'intent' of 'Content-Encoding'
> was never meant to be applied to HTML documents you
> realize that there are a lot more issues to consider than
> simply 'Is there a GZIPPED version of this puppy on the server?'.

RFC 2068 clearly is written with the idea of html compression in mind.
Microsoft has both ends of the solution working for their captive
customers. They are also attempting to get large independent accounts to
adopt their server side technology. In fact, I know through a friend
that MS made an impressive compression demonstration at Yahoo over the

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