Re: distinguishing browser types

Kee Hinckley (
Sat, 22 Apr 1995 13:04:15 +0500

>> Rick Silterra writes:
>> > I wonder if someone could point me to some code that
>> > would show how to serve up data tailored to a particular browser.
>> > Specifically, I would like to serve a file with
>> > some tables as <PRE> blocks for browsers that do not get tables
>> > yet, and html3 table stuff for browsers that do.

Note that you can do some clever things which combine both Tables and
<pre>'s, but that's not always sufficient. We have a package we use that
acts as a "meta-server" and let's you #if your HTML code based on the
browser feature you wish to use (among other things). It acts as an
extension to your existing server. We're considering productizing it if
there is interest.

>On Fri, 21 Apr 1995, Dan Connolly wrote:
>> Please don't key on the browser name (User-Agent) for this
>> functionality. The HTTP protocol has included a facility for
>> format negociation for several years. I hear the Apache group
>> has implemented it in their revision of the httpd 1.3 server.

As I understand (correct me if I'm wrong), that facility let's you
negotiate on a broad scale - e.g. HTML2.0 vs. 3.0 or particular file
formats. That however, is not really the major issue. We just finished a
site which has some pages which make heavy use of Tables and Forms
( We tested it with
Netscape 1.1, Arena .96 and Mosaic 2.5b2. We ended up having conditionals
based on whether the browser supports Tables, whether it supports Tables
within Tables (that crashes/hangs the Cern and NCSA browsers), whether it
supports Forms within Tables and whether it supports Images within Tables.

Content negotiation is certainly necessary, but it isn't sufficient.

Which leads me to another question. Are there any browsers out there that
actually set the Accept fields based on the helper applications? I know
Netscape doesn't. It makes it rather difficult to determine what formats
can be sent to a browser.

Kee Hinckley Utopia Inc. - Cyberspace Architects=81 617/721-6100

I'm not sure which upsets me more: that people are so unwilling to accept
responsibility for their own actions, or that they are so eager to regulate
everyone else's.