A processing instruction for robots

Walter Underwood wunder at infoseek.com
Tue Dec 7 18:10:49 GMT 1999

At 10:25 AM 12/6/99 +0100, Lars Marius Garshol wrote:
>First thought: this is fine for very simple uses, but for more complex
>uses something along the lines of the robots.txt file would be very
>nice. How about a variant PI that can point to a robots.rdf resource?

Two reasons, one based on keeping it very simple for authors,
and one on keeping it simple for robot implementors.

In our experience, the simple form covers almost all needs.
We have 1000+ customers, and only three or four of them use
our selective indexing support. So, I think of the robots
meta tag as a proven solution that doesn't need major improvement.

Secondly, fetching two or more entities for one document makes
the robot code much more complex. If the robots.rdf file gets
a 404, what happens? What about a 401 or a timeout? The robot
may need separate last-modified dates and revisit times for
each entity. And after it is implemented and tested, how do you
explain all that to customers who just want search results?

Walter R. Underwood
Senior Staff Engineer
Infoseek Software
GO Network, part of The Walt Disney Company
wunder at infoseek.com
http://software.infoseek.com/cce/ (my product)

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