[whatwg] Current status of hyperlink authoring (a.k.a. the ping attribute) and some suggestions

Jukka K. Korpela jkorpela at cs.tut.fi
Tue Apr 26 21:52:59 PDT 2011

Ronny Orbach wrote:

> I've researched hyperlink authoring

You seem to mean hyperlink _auditing_, specifically using the proposed 
ping="..." attribute.

> which IMO is a great feature,

To me, it seems that it mostly generates the types of problems that it is 
supposed to solve.

> and it looks like the only browser which
> implements it today is Chrome

As an aside, when using Chrome debugging mode, the "Network" pane shows no 
request corresponding to the ping attribute, and no POST request whatsoever. 
This might be just a bug^H^H^Hfeature in Chrome debugger.

> Not sure why implementation and buzz around this are so minor

Apart from lack of practical need and apart from obvious problems, you mean? 
The attribute seems to do nothing that could not be done using existing 
other techniques. While it superficially makes "hyperlink auditing" easier 
to authors, who would use it? If it is something that can be easily disabled 
by users, why would it be used, instead of current methods?

The advantages listed at
are theoretically good-looking from the educated user's perspective. But 
site administrators and advertizers have a completely different perspective. 
Besides, most users would just get confused with the issue if they were told 
about it.

> If authors can't be sure ping will work,
> they won't use it.


> However, regular feature-detection or UA sniffing
> won't suffice because the user can disable the feature*. So ideally,
> we could have a boolean property like Navigator.features.ping, so we
> could do if(!Navigator.features.ping) runPingShim().

Why would we introduce a feature for the sake of giving users the control, 
then develop methods for defeating that control because authors wouldn't use 
the feature otherwise? And they won't use it anyway, as it's much simpler 
and safer to keep doing what they do now.

> No one will use a
> ping-system which freaks out users and tells them they're being
> tracked.

Well, no one except a few idealists - a far too small population of authors 
to be considered seriously.

Yucca, http://www.cs.tut.fi/~jkorpela/ 

More information about the whatwg mailing list