[whatwg] hash Attribute

Michel Fortin michel.fortin at michelf.com
Tue Nov 14 08:53:43 PST 2006

Le 13 nov. 2006 à 1:39, ryan king a écrit :

> On Nov 8, 2006, at 8:28 AM, Ian Hickson wrote:
>> Given the various mechanisms that already exist to do this, it  
>> seems like
>> adding yet another one would be a bad idea.
> I concur. If people are already using these technologies, we could  
> learn from their usage and find ways to improve the technology. If  
> they aren't being used widely, it would be wise to question whether  
> there is demand for this functionality.

I'm sure there is demand. A lot of software download pages already  
give you MD5 or SHA-1 digests values to check the validity of the  
downloaded file, but it's trouble to check them manually and people  
rarely do so.

I see only two mechanisms that do what the hash attribute would do:  
it's the hash microformat[1] and link fingerprints[2]. All others  
require either special URIs schemes[2] which won't work in today's  
browsers, or are attached directly to the file, like the md5-digest  
HTTP header, which means that a tampered file is very likely to get  
its digest updated accordingly.

  [1]: http://microformats.org/wiki/hash-examples
  [2]: http://mdhashtool.mozdev.org/lfinfo.html
  [3]: http://magnet-uri.sourceforge.net/

I'm beginning to think that the link "fingerprint" method is best  
solution because the hash is more portable as part of the URL. I  
could for instance copy a fingerprinted URL right into this email:


and a knowledgeable browser receiving this URL would know how to  
check the validity of the received document. The two concerns I have  
with it is that it somewhat distorts the concept of a fragment  
identifier, and it's generally going to be lost if there is any  
redirection (although a browser that knows about fingerprints could  
keep them across redirections).

Michel Fortin
michel.fortin at michelf.com

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