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Re: Issue 166: clarify term "User Agent" and resolve inconsistencies with W3C specs

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Tue, 2 Jun 2009 11:02:07 +1000
Cc: Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>, Larry Masinter <masinter@adobe.com>
Message-Id: <DFCDC764-8D99-4DF5-B4EC-AA87AA609853@mnot.net>
To: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
I haven't followed that discussion (indeed, I can't subscribe to the  
HTML-WG mailing list, but that's another topic).

To me, the biggest difference is that a UA is the end node; i.e., it  
is the 'origin client' to compliment the 'origin server.' A proxy is a  
client, not a user-agent.

Gateways make this a bit tricky, just as they do with an origin  
server. E.g., a gateway that implements ESI makes independent  
requests, but doesn't have a user sitting there. However, it pretends  
to be a UA.


On 02/06/2009, at 10:50 AM, Roy T. Fielding wrote:

> On Jun 1, 2009, at 12:59 PM, Julian Reschke wrote:
>
>> Hi,
>>
>> based on an off-list suggestion from Larry, I just added <http://trac.tools.ietf.org/wg/httpbis/trac/ticket/166 
>> >.
>>
>> Larry Masinter wrote:
>>> Brief summary:
>>> The HTTP document uses two terms "user agent" and "client",
>>> and in some cases it is careful to distinguish between them,
>>> but not always. I would like to see a careful
>>> review of each appearance of the terms to insure that
>>> "user agent" is used in situations where there is a user,
>>> and "client" used in cases where the initiator of the action
>>> is either a user agent or another agent with no explicit user.
>>> I think this will help the document, and the task relatively
>>> limited and editorial.
>>> Some instances may require discussion.
>
> As I mentioned on the HTML list, user agent does not mean there
> is a user watching the screen.  UA means a client that initiates
> requests (as in, decides to start an action based on user controls
> or user configuration).
>
> ....Roy
>


--
Mark Nottingham     http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Tuesday, 2 June 2009 01:02:44 GMT

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