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

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Oct 25 13:47:47 PDT 2005

On Tue, 25 Oct 2005, Christian Schmidt wrote:
> Ian Hickson wrote:
> >
> > The problem at the moment is that the redirect mechanism obscures the 
> > eventual target URI.
> One backwards-compatible way (that doesn't require scripting) to solve 
> this problem would be to add a new attribute that specifies the eventual 
> target URI:
> <a 
> href="http://tracker.example.com/?id=1&url=http://dest.example.com/foo.html 
> target-href="http://dest.example.com/foo.html">
> This would allow the UA to display both (or perhaps the target href 
> followed by the hostname of the direct href).
> To prevent spoofing, the UA should display an error if the actual target 
> URI was not the one specified.

That's an interesting idea.

One problem (a blocker problem IMHO) is that it doesn't really allow for 
moving to a world where, once HTML5 is widely supported, the redirect 
pages can stop redirecting, and just log and return nothing.

It's not as clean as href="" ping="".

> Problems compared with the initial suggestion:
> - The tracking CGI script should support redirection even for 
> WA1-supporting UA's. This is hardly a problem, though (it's one line of 
> code in most languages).

And once HTML5 is widely enough supported, they can stop doing it without 
breaking the legacy UAs (e.g. lynx or IE6) that don't support ping="".

> - The target URI in the href attribute should be URL-encoded. Some people
> don't know how to do that. It gets even more confusing if several tracking
> servers are visited before the final URI is reached.

That's the case with any system.

> - The server hosting the tracking CGI script should be alive.

Again, same with any system.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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