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Chapter 18. Compressing the Web > Content Compression: Client Side

Content Compression: Client Side

As you learned in the “Content Compression” section, browsers and servers have brief conversations about what kind of content they would prefer to accept and deliver. The browser tells the server that it can accept content encoding, and if the server is capable, it will then compress the data and transmit it. The browser decompresses the data and then renders the page. Clients that don't understand compressed content don't request encoded files and, thus, receive files uncompressed (assuming that the content is offered conditionally). By definition, HTTP 1.1-compliant browsers support gzip compression. Most modern browsers support gzip content encoding (see Table 18.3).

Table 18.3. Browser Content Encoding Support
Browser Encoding Support
Microsoft Internet Explorer 4.x+ gzip, deflate. Macintosh versions do not understand coding by the methods gzip and deflate. They do not transfer the “Accept-Encoding” header.
 There is a caching issue with compressed content in Internet Explorer. Fortunately, all the content compression software vendors are aware of this and know how to work around it. The only software that works incorrectly with MSIE is Microsoft Internet Information Server.
Netscape 4.06+ Supports HTTP/1.0, but Netscape 4.06 and later versions send “Accept-Encoding: gzip” in the header. There are some limitations, however. It works consistently only for content type “text/html” or “text/plain.” JavaScript and CSS files (“application/x-javascript” and “text/css”) will not be decompressed properly.
Mozilla m14-m18, 0.6-0.9.3, Netscape 6.0-6.1, Galeon, and SkipStone Error in implementation.
Mozilla 0.9.4+, Netscape 6.2+ Good
Opera 5.12+ Good
Lynx 2.6+ Good
Konqueror gzip only



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