Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Needed in (X)HTML 5 – An extension to the Meta Tag

I was thinking today, while reading an article about redirect – that there is
currently no way to accurately and semantically tell a user/bot that a web page is located somewhere else
when you only have access to static (X)HTML files.  However, there is a workaround a lot of people
use that dampens usability, and there is an attribute whose name would seem to imply that a way to do it
should be possible.

By this of course, I’m referring to <meta http-equiv=""

Currently, people wanting to relocate their web pages rely on an older value
to this tag that seems to have been originally designed for moving one person from one page to another in a
set increment of time:

<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0;URL=http://domain.tld/location"

This doesn’t appear to be what this value should be used for, and has very
negative consequences for search engines and parsers.  Instead, don’t you think we should be using
http-equiv to its full potential?

To this, I propose the addition of <meta
http-equiv="location" />, to properly match the HTTP Header for redirection.

I think there should be two ways to use this:

<meta http-equiv="location"
content="http://domain.tld/location" /> and

http-equiv="location" content="301;http://domain.tld/location" />.

Obviously, the second example gives us both a *three digit* HTTP Code, and the URL for redirection. 
Since HTTP codes are only three numbers (though in the future may be greater digits) there still should not
be any problem.