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Re: Minimizing/avoiding User-Agent, was: SPDY Header Frames

From: James M Snell <jasnell@gmail.com>
Date: Wed, 18 Jul 2012 08:11:11 -0700
Message-ID: <CABP7RbdA34E_2ThRtiyGtJXXZ3CZtxDGTp8N0YJ_Zx4ccftKZQ@mail.gmail.com>
To: Martin J. Dürst <duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>
Cc: Karl Dubost <karld@opera.com>, Julian Reschke <julian.reschke@gmx.de>, HTTP Working Group <ietf-http-wg@w3.org>
On Tue, Jul 17, 2012 at 6:41 PM, "Martin J. Dürst"
<duerst@it.aoyama.ac.jp>wrote:

> On 2012/07/18 6:08, James M Snell wrote:
>
>> +1... I was getting ready to respond to Julian's post with a "+1 YEAH!"
>> but
>> then stopped and thought about it... using a URI, while potentially sound
>> in theory, would likely just end up with a different form of the same mess
>> we're in now. Reducing the User-Agent field to nothing more than a single
>> token with a version identifier seems to me to be the Least Bad Option.
>>
>
> So why did that not happen up to now, and why is the User-Agent string
> growing as it does?
>
> Because servers/proxies check on substrings in that string, so UAs are
> using the strategy to copy the whole header of some other browser (usually
> the most popular one around at that time) and then tack some additional
> stuff on at the back to make sure they can be uniquely identified.
>
> This is a cat-and-mouse game where the servers are as much (or as little)
> to blame as the browsers. As long as each side does what's most convenient
> for them, changing the name of the header, or offloading the data to a
> separate URI, or any such thing, is only a cosmetic change.
>
>
As has been mentioned several times, we cannot stop people from doing
stupid things. We can, however, make it easier to do the right thing and
work on setting a right precedent. Placing additional constraints on the
User-Agent is the right thing to do. If implementors go off and create a
new header to do the same stupid kinds of things they've been doing, then
that's on them.

- James


> Regards,   Martin.
>
Received on Wednesday, 18 July 2012 15:12:07 GMT

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