[whatwg] A thought: <a href="..." method="post">

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Sat May 7 19:25:52 PDT 2005

James Graham wrote:
> Consider the example of a webmail application. These often allow 
> messages to be retrieved by clicking on hyperlinks containing the 
> subject line*. This is apparently all well and good because retrieving a 
> message is sounds like a simple GET-friendly operation. Except that the 
> act of retrieving a message often has the side effect of marking the 
> message read in some way (not an unsafe operation per-se but one that 
> should only be initiated by a user).

You're right, it's not an unsafe operation. A Web browser does this with 
links anyway, when it gives visited links a different color from 
unvisited ones. That doesn't mean it should, early-Arena-like, present 
all links as buttons.

All the Webmail application is doing is retaining visited/unvisited 
presentation across whatever computer you log in to your Webmail from -- 
which is part of the point of it being a Web application in the first 
place. So that's not really a good example of a non-idempotent action, 
and therefore not a reason for specs to condone non-idempotent links.

Matthew Thomas

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