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Re: [#95] Multiple Content-Lengths

From: Roy T. Fielding <fielding@gbiv.com>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 2010 15:35:48 -0700
Cc: HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
Message-Id: <C6795919-FE93-4D3A-AA93-6156CE20998B@gbiv.com>
To: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@opera.com>
On Sep 20, 2010, at 1:06 AM, Anne van Kesteren wrote:

> On Mon, 20 Sep 2010 07:57:56 +0200, Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net> wrote:
>> Two replied that they have concerns about displaying errors to end users. If they come on-list and discuss their concerns, we can discuss this more.
> 
> I was one of those if I remember correctly. End users just do not understand such error messages. And since they cannot do anything with them either showing error messages to end users will just make them confused, which gives them a bad product experience. It is exactly the same problem with asking users if they are okay with doing the request using the method CHICKEN to this other location. They'll just go "WTF" hit "OK" and hope it works, which is not that great really. Or worse, terminate the browser and start over.

Please, let's focus on what is actually written for the spec and
not on vague generalities of what an error message might be.
The spec draft 11 says

      If this is a
      response message received by a user-agent, the message-body
      length is determined by reading the connection until it is
      closed; an error SHOULD be indicated to the user.

It does not say that an error is displayed in a dialog box that
the user must click OK upon.  It does not describe a user interface
requirement in any way, shape, or form.  How a user agent indicates
anything to a user is dependent on the type and style of the UA.
For example, the tiny little conformance violation icon in the
corner of Firefox's window is sufficient to indicate an error.
So is an error log.

The reason to indicate the error is because the user agent has
no way to know whether it is actually rendering the message as
desired by the server or possibly several responses or possibly
a corrupted or truncated response.  Failure to note such things
as errors can result in very unsafe results for some applications
of the Web, such as medical information systems.

....Roy
Received on Monday, 20 September 2010 22:36:23 GMT

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