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From André Warnier>
Subject [users@httpd] generic enquiry about rendering zipped content
Date Fri, 16 Jan 2009 19:24:29 GMT

Question :

What exact form would a HTTP response need to have, for the browser to 
correctly interpret that the response it is getting is a document (for 
example an OpenOffice document or an email in eml format), but which has 
been zipped for transmission ?

What I would like to happen is that the browser receives the zipped 
document, but instead of proposing to open it as a zip file or save it 
to disk as a zip file, unzips it and handles it properly as per the 
content of the zipped response.

I know that this has to do with the Content-Type and Content-disposition 
and Content-encoding (Content-type-encoding ?) headers, but do not know 
exactly what are the caveats or rules or "things that work with one 
browser and not the other" kind of stuff.

Does anyone know ?

If more context is required :
A server-side application stores on the one hand original documents of 
different kinds, zipped, and on the other hand meta-data about these 
documents in a database and search-engine.
The user can search the database, and obtain a response html page, on 
which appear icons representing the original documents.  When clicking 
on such an icon, the user should receive the original document.
It seems a pity, considering that the document is already stored zipped 
at the server side, to unzip it before sending it to the browser, so 
that the browser would know that it is not a zip-file, but an OpenOffice 
The plan is thus to have, underneath the icons, a link which invokes an 
application on the server (Apache module, mod_perl module, cgi-bin,..), 
which retrieves the zipped original, composes the appropriate HTTP 
headers (wich it can do only based on info stored in the db), and sends 
the document in the appropriate way to the browser, in the zipped 
format. The filename of the zipped document on the server gives no clue 
as to its content. Only the meta-data in the db indicates that.

Thanks in advance for any insights, advice, pointers etc..

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