[whatwg] <a href="" ping="">

Matthew Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Fri Oct 21 16:43:13 PDT 2005

On 21 Oct, 2005, at 7:42 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> On Fri, 21 Oct 2005, dolphinling wrote:
>>> ...
>>>    http://whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#ping
>> It's not evil in and of itself, but it won't ever be useful. Anyone 
>> who just finds themselves curious won't be able to use it reliably 
>> for at least 10 years, because of internet explorer. Anyone who 
>> actually _needs_ to know won't ever be able to use it, because it's 
>> easily disableable. Even in controlled environments where that can 
>> all be standardized it won't be useful, because in a controlled 
>> environment you can get most of that information easily anyway.
> ...
> I'll leave it in until someone comes up with a better idea, so that we
> have a placeholder (and so that people who wish to experiment with the
> idea can do so -- there seems to be at least some interest in it).
> ...

But there is already a better idea: redirects. As dolphinling said, 
redirects will work while ping= doesn't. And the script you provided to 
get around that not only adds even more complexity, it also won't work 
for the 10 percent of visitors who don't have JavaScript turned on, 
while redirects still work in that case too.

I can understand the usability benefit of not obfuscating the URL. But  
given the small proportion of authors who would use ping= (for the 
reasons given above), I can't imagine that benefit being greater than 
the usability harm from expecting browsers to include a configuration 
option that -- if given wording understandable by non-developers, such 
as your "Disable user tracking" suggestion -- almost always wouldn't 
even do what it claims to do.

Matthew Paul Thomas

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