[whatwg] Configure Apache to send the right MIME type for XHTML

Kornel Lesinski kornel at osiolki.net
Wed Mar 7 13:11:15 PST 2007

On Wed, 07 Mar 2007 17:46:43 -0000, Elliotte Harold  
<elharo at metalab.unc.edu> wrote:

>>> How so?
>>  Well, your article advocates sniffing specific user agents where the  
>> one written by Mark Pilgrim uses the Accept: header which was actually  
>> designed for this... Google, for one, is known for not supporting XHTML  
>> really well.
> I'm not doing content negotiation here.

 From HTTP point of view you are.

> There's one representation available. It is XHTML. We can send that to  
> most browsers and they'll deal reasonably. Two I know of have problems  
> (IE and Lynx) so we lie to them and tell them it's text/html.

Use of Accept does not require you to return completly different  
representations, you can use it just like you used User-Agent.

However Accept contains exactly the information you're trying to (and  
failing to) derive from User-Agent header.

> I am curious what problems Google has with XHTML. Then they deal.

Last time I checked they were marking XHTML documents as "Unknown format".

Since Google certainly has engineers aware and capable of fixing this  
problem, Google must be ignoring XHTML deliberately. I suspect they  
support only what works for their customers and XHTML in XML mode doesn't  
work for vast majority of them.

User-agent sniffing is a bad practice - it's inaccurate, hurts minority  
browsers and is not forward-compatible. Please change your method to use  
Accept header, so it won't be affecting any HTML-only user-agents (web is  
more than a handful of desktop browsers).  Accept method will even work  
for MSIE and Lynx when/if they start supporting XHTML.

Even your regular expressions for User-Agent aren't doing exactly what you  
intended, because mod_rewrite does not anchor patterns.

regards, Kornel Lesiński

More information about the whatwg mailing list