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RE: Conventions for Sharing User Agent Profiles

From: Erik Aronesty <earonesty@montgomery.com>
Date: Mon, 12 Aug 1996 12:34:21 -0700
Message-Id: <c=US%a=_%p=Montgomery%l=EXCHANGE_SERVE-960812193421Z-887@sf-exch-2.montgomery.com>
To: 'Jeffrey Mogul' <mogul@pa.dec.com>
Cc: "'http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com'" <http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com>
X-Mailing-List: <http-wg@cuckoo.hpl.hp.com> archive/latest/1315
definition of a u-a-p:

a readable and understandable file transmitted via. HTTP
to a client .... it is similar in content
if not identical to the equivalent HTTP headers which it purports to

there should never be a NEED to use a u-a-p for a browser
...although it will be more efficient


>From: 	Jeffrey Mogul[SMTP:mogul@pa.dec.com]
>Sent: 	Monday, August 12, 1996 12:52 PM
>To: 	jg@zorch.w3.org
>Cc: 	http-wg%cuckoo.hpl.hp.com@hplb.hpl.hp.com
>Subject: 	Re: Conventions for Sharing User Agent Profiles 
>    If a user agent profile is a URL, rather than some silly static
>    database, there is no monopoly involved; a server would just
>    fetch the profile from the URL when first talking to the client,
>    and cache it.
>    Unless such a cache of profiles were tiny, it is very likely that
>    any significant server will have profiles for almost any user agent
>    in use (and you can roll your own, anyone who has the ability to
>    provide a web page, and since this seems to be standard these days
>    with Internet accounts by ISP's, this means everyone).
>    This is the scheme Simon Spero suggests in his NG work, and it
>    like a fine one to me.
>It has some obvious advantages (indirection is often a Good Idea
>in computer systems design), but I can think of several problems
>that could make it difficult to implement universally.
>How would this work, for example, in an isolated intranet (one
>in which, by policy, no access to the Internet is allowed)?  Would
>the intranet's operators have to mirror the set of user agent
>resources internally, and perhaps rebind the URLs for the browsers
>used internally?  Or build a translation table for the internal
>servers to use?
>How would this work in a flakey Internet (supposing that, in
>spite of our current efforts, Internet reliability gets worse
>rather than better)?  I.e., a server has a less-than-100% chance
>of actually reaching the user-agent-profile URL?
>What are the security implications of trusting the Internet
>to deliver the correct user agent profile?  (Not that we necessarily
>do any better today!)
>Anyway, I would guess that if we can come up with a standard
>encoding for the u-a-p resource pointed to by a u-a-p URL (and
>which would be a prerequisite for any such scheme) then with
>a little more effort we might be able to come up with compressed
>encoding that could be transmitted in the request headers without
>many more bytes that it would take to transmit the u-a-p URL.  And
>transmitting it in-band does solve the problems that might arise
>from indirection.
>So perhaps the first order of business is to think about what the
>u-a-p would actually encode, before thinking about what the most
>efficient way to transmit it might be.  After all, as you pointed
>out in another recent message, special-purpose encodings can yield
>impressive compression ratios.
Received on Monday, 12 August 1996 12:49:03 UTC

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