[whatwg] <video> application/octet-stream

Nils Dagsson Moskopp nils-dagsson-moskopp at dieweltistgarnichtso.net
Wed Jul 21 06:10:22 PDT 2010

James Salsman <jsalsman at gmail.com> schrieb am Tue, 20 Jul 2010 22:03:38

> I would like to speak up for sniffing because I believe in the
> robustness principle.

While the robustness principle is indeed a good start, this is a
situation where we are mostly starting with a clean slate. No reason to
muddy the waters without having actual problems in the wild, or else
it's the tag soup situation all again (clients try to guess based on
incorrect information and you end up with stupid switches).

> I don't know why people who are capable of
> coding hundreds of lines of dense, uncommented javascript can't get
> their web servers to declare the correct type of their media files,
> but it happens so often that I think sniffing is completely
> reasonable.

Lets not forget that the broken situation is one that is not commonly
encountered with <video>, only with distinct proprietary plugins.
Whoever can change the markup on the web site on this level, will, in
most cases, be able to change the MIME type as well (adding one line
to .htaccess for each type is not hard), so this is a minimal burden
on site authors (or none at all for shared hosting, as soon as default
MIME mapping for such media types has trickled into web server

So, carrying this inconsistency over to a standards-based world would
make MIME types essentially useless for media content, necessitating a
partial download and sniffing code, like unixoid FILE(1).

> There aren't too many media types without distinctive headers these
> days, so the actual arguments against sniffing are pretty weak, aren't
> they?

I have no idea how canPlayType() is now implemented, but it would maybe
need to change its approach. Or be a yes / maybe thing. I do not know
if it would be useful at all.

Nils Dagsson Moskopp // erlehmann
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