W3C International Internationalization / Localization

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History of language negotiation

A poster by Faith Zack shows an early implementation of language negotiation.

The Hyper-G hypertext system (which predates HTTP 1.0) was one of the first to implement language negotiation. Their Harmony browser offers users a dialogue box for configuring their preferred languages.

There was a proposal to use parameters to URIs to indicate the language version in order to be able to obtain a specific language version independent of the settings of a browser. For example, "aDocument.html" would be the generic one, "aDocument.html;content-language=fr" would be the French version. However, servers typically also provide separate URLs for each of the variants, in addition to the generic URI, so it is usually possible to link to them (once you know their name...). For the example above, the explicit URI could be "aDocument.html" or "aDocument.html.fr".

W3C Bert Bos, i18n coordinator
Last updated $Date: 2008/05/07 17:18:15 $