The One with the Thoughts of Frans

Please, Use HTTP Language Headers

I’ve got my HTTP header set up as “Accept-Language: en-US,en;q=0.9,nl;q=0.8”, but the number of sites that actually seem to use this (that I have encountered) can be counted on one hand. Especially on Belgian sites it’s ludicrous: I’m clearly saying that I don’t want French, so unless there is a choice between English, Dutch, and French (on a minority of sites, sometimes also German) there’s no rationale whatsoever to bug me with the option for French when the only options are French and Dutch.

Don’t get me wrong: I want the option to override this automatic detection system with a language selector in the top-right or some such, but it seems like I’m sending out these headers to waste bandwidth. I guess I should just be grateful that they don’t make their language-selection pages Flash-based, though they do typically come attached with gigantic pictures that aren’t reused on the actual site.

I don’t know what the best method would be to utilize this, but in the case of the aforementioned majority of Belgian sites they tend to be like and, so I’d say just quietly redirect me to (all through HTTP) whereas if I go directly to /nl or /fr nothing should happen.

PS The few sites that initially seemed to utilize this method (like actually perform some IP-based shenanigans. It happens to work out for me in this particular case, but generally speaking I consider that far worse than the redundant language selection screens, although a lot of that depends on overridability as well. Which reminds me of software that insists on displaying itself in Dutch based on my location settings while it should really just align itself with my OS language.

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