[whatwg] RWD Heaven: if browsers reported device capabilities in a request header
bzbarsky at MIT.EDU
Tue Feb 7 09:11:11 PST 2012
On 2/7/12 9:13 AM, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> To be clear: this is a case of browser vendors deciding it's too
> expensive and therefor not allowing it to be implemented
This is a case of browser vendors (or at least me with my browser
implementor had on) thinking that sending this sort of information will
hurt their users' privacy, will cause their users to get more broken
pages (which is what happens in many cases with browser sniffing right
now), will lock new devices out of the market (which is what happens
with new UA strings right now). And hence that the proposal is bad for
the web in various ways.
Now obviously it's also good for the web in various ways, if people use
the information "correctly" and such. My faith in this is somewhat
tarnished by the fact that every concrete proposal for using it that
I've seen seems to be broken by design, which means that chances of
anyone using it "correctly" are vanishingly small. We should strive to
provide information that will enable the server to better serve the user
without it being rocket science to do so without breaking other users.
The problem is that we haven't found a way to do that yet.
> when it should be
> authors in the position to know whether it's too expensive given their
> specific use case.
This is privileging authors over users. I understand the author
perspective on this, but in general I care about users more than we do
about authors.... I don't think I'm the only one.
> No offense taken btw. Things have to prove themselves. The danger is the
> standards process is too slow to react well, and some even more hacky
> solution turning into a de-facto standard.
Yes, this is a problem.
> Devices of significantly varied size and performance are here to stay
Yes, but "size" and "performance" are not necessarily a function of the
actual device. They can be a function of the device, the network, the
currently attached peripherals, etc. Importantly, they are not
time-invariant. The question is what we can do about that...
(Simple example: the performance of my laptop will vary by easily a
factor of close to 1.5 just depending on whether it's plugged in and
what sort of surface it's resting on. I expect this trend to continue
unless we get some sort of revolutionary improvements in battery and
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