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From Adam Costello <...@cs.berkeley.edu>
Subject mod_negotiation/3237: I want HTML pages gzip'd for browsers that handle it, otherwise not.
Date Mon, 19 Oct 1998 05:43:28 GMT

>Number:         3237
>Category:       mod_negotiation
>Synopsis:       I want HTML pages gzip'd for browsers that handle it, otherwise not.
>Confidential:   no
>Severity:       non-critical
>Priority:       medium
>Responsible:    apache
>State:          open
>Class:          change-request
>Submitter-Id:   apache
>Arrival-Date:   Sun Oct 18 22:50:00 PDT 1998
>Originator:     amc@cs.berkeley.edu
>Release:        3.0.0
I don't have access to the server machine.  All I know is that it runs Unix.
I would like my HTML pages to be gzip'd for browsers that can handle it, and
unencoded for other browsers, to reduce transfer time (because fewer packets
have fewer chances to be dropped).  When I discovered the type-map handler, I
thought that should do it, but it doesn't quite do the job.

If I give the .html and .html.gz versions equal qs values, then the choice does
not depend in any way on the request header, so that won't work.

If I give the .html.gz version a higher qs value than the .html version, it
comes closer:  A browser that sends Accept-Encoding: gzip will get the .html.gz
version, and a browser that sends Accept-Encoding without listing gzip will
get the .html version.  Unfortunately, a browser that sends no Accept-Encoding
field will get the .html.gz version.  If that browser is MSIE 3 (and probably
others), it will choke on the gzip'd content.

I haven't been able to think of a way to do what I want within the present

One possibility is to change the interpretation of the absence of
Accept-Encoding.  The HTTP 1.1 draft spec says that the server "may" interpret
this as meaning that all encodings are acceptable, but maybe that's not the
best guess.  More likely, no encodings are acceptable.  But I don't know if
making this change would break things in other situations.

Another possibility is to change rule 5 of step 2 of the negotiation algorithm.
It currently reads:

5. Select only unencoded variants, if there is a mix of encoded and non-encoded
   variants.  If either all variants are encoded or all variants are not encoded,
   select all.

Perhaps this rule should be applied only when the Accept-Encoding field is
absent.  When it is present, all variants that survived step 1 must have
acceptable content encodings, so I see no reason to prefer unencoded variants.

If rule 5 were changed this way, I could accomplish my goal by giving .html
and .html.gz files equal qs values.  For requests with Accept-Encoding but no
gzip, step 1 would insure that the .html version is sent.  For requests with
no Accept-Encoding, step 2 rule 5 would ensure that the .html version is sent.
For requests with Accept-Encoding: gzip, rule 5 would not apply, and step 2
rule 7 (smallest content-length) would ensure that the .html.gz version is
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