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Subject: how to support cHTML with WSRP and JSR168?

Hi all,

as you might know unfortunatly the W3C cHTML specification has missed to
register its own mime type and instead uses text/html as the mime type for
Efforts to try to register a specific mime type for cHTML failed for
backwards compatibility reasons.
The W3C recommendation is to use the userAgent string to distinguish which
html to generate: plain HTML or cHTML.
However, this brings us some problems for portlets:
1. How can portlets indicate that they support HTML and cHTML?
2. How can the Consumer explicitly request cHTML markup for its end-user?

Assume the following use case:
A portlet supports HTML with the modes view, help and edit AND cHTML with
the modes view, preview, help.
The question is what the PortletDescription contains for the text/html mime
type for the supported modes.
With the current WSRP & JSR168 specification we need to end-up with the
superset of both modes arrays, i.e. the portlet description would contain
one single text/html mime type with the modes view, help, edit, preview and
This is quite unsatisfactory as the Consumer portal for example would
render decorations which would allow edit mode even for cHTML only capable
devices since it can't distinguish the HTML dialects.

One possible solution to this problem would be to define an additional mime
type parameter like "html-dialect=cHTML".
This would mean that the PortletDescription would contain two MarkupType
entries for the mime type text/html:
"text/html" for plain html and "text/html; html-dialect=cHTML".
In the same way the Consumer could explicitly request cHTML content by
setting the mime type to "text/html; html-dialect=cHTML".

The problem here is that we explicitly say in the WSRP spec that
Consumers/Portlets do not need to handle any optional parameters for mime
It seems to me that this is quite limiting.
When we look at xHTML there are already optional parameters used to
distinguish between various profiles. It seems natural to me that portlets
supporting xhtml might have different sets of modes and window states
depending on the profile.
Also in future further mime types might come up which use parameters on
mime types to distinguish between various

So this comes down to two questions:
1. Should we expand the handling of mime types in such a way that
additional parameters DO care?
This would mean that "type/subtype; param1=value1" is being considered as a
different MarkupType than "type/subtype; param2=value2".

2. Should we add a specific parameter for cHTML?
I am aware of the fact that this is a "workaround" for the missing mime
While cHTML generation based on the userAgent string might work well for
plain web apps, this approach seems not to be well suited for the portal
use case where the consuming portal could do better if the supported
modes/window states for a certain MarkupType were known a priori.

Did other portal vendors experience similar problems with cHTML support?
And if not, how do you solve it?
We could solve our use case by having our own extension for this, however
this would require us to replicate the MarkupType structure for cHTML and
add it as a PortletDescription extension which is not very convenient.

Mit freundlichen Gruessen / best regards,

        Richard Jacob
IBM Lab Boeblingen, Germany
Dept.8288, WebSphere Portal Server Development
WSRP Standardization Technical Lead
Phone: ++49 7031 16-3469  -  Fax: ++49 7031 16-4888
Email: mailto:richard.jacob@de.ibm.com

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