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

From: Mark Nottingham <mnot@mnot.net>
Date: Fri, 9 Dec 2011 09:41:44 +1100
Cc: ietf-http-wg@w3.org
Message-Id: <7CCC308A-12DD-4162-B27B-D61204B44B73@mnot.net>
To: William A. Rowe Jr. <wrowe@rowe-clan.net>
That's exactly backwards from how we have always used the terms in HTTP -

1945:

>    client
> 
>        An application program that establishes connections for the
>        purpose of sending requests.
> 
>    user agent
> 
>        The client which initiates a request. These are often browsers,
>        editors, spiders (web-traversing robots), or other end user
>        tools.


2068:

>    client
>       A program that establishes connections for the purpose of sending
>       requests.
> 
>    user agent
>       The client which initiates a request. These are often browsers,
>       editors, spiders (web-traversing robots), or other end user tools.


2616:

>    client
>       A program that establishes connections for the purpose of sending
>       requests.
> 
>    user agent
>       The client which initiates a request. These are often browsers,
>       editors, spiders (web-traversing robots), or other end user tools.



On 09/12/2011, at 9:27 AM, William A. Rowe Jr. wrote:

> On 12/8/2011 12:33 PM, Karl Dubost wrote:
>> 
>> Le 8 déc. 2011 à 14:55, Larry Masinter a écrit :
>>> I think Karl's rewording is worse. The point I really wanted to make was that documents that follow HTTP terminology often make the mistake of assuming a "user agent" has a "user".
>> 
>> Ahah! I didn't have the initial context. :)
>> 
>>> But if "client" means the same thing as "user agent", then why have a separate term?
>> 
>> 
>> I would rather prefer client everywhere too.
>> 
>> What wikipedia says: 
>> 
>> 	In computing, a user agent is a client application 
>> 	implementing a network protocol used in communications 
>> 	within a client–server distributed computing system.
>> 	— http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User_agent
> 
> We just had this discussion at the ASF httpd project.
> 
> In a proxy chain, each proxy server is a user agent itself reaching
> out to the next server in the chain.  It is possible to describe
> these each as clients, but when you start looking at end-to-end
> definitions, "client" suggests the originating user agent (app, or
> browser, or service).
> 
> So UA and client do have distinct connotations.
> 

--
Mark Nottingham   http://www.mnot.net/
Received on Thursday, 8 December 2011 22:42:13 GMT

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