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Re: Comments on Content Transformation Guidelines?

From: Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no>
Date: Mon, 04 Aug 2008 12:09:31 +0200
Message-ID: <4896D55B.8060807@eunet.no>
To: Kai Hendry <hendry@iki.fi>
CC: public-bpwg-comments@w3.org

Kai Hendry wrote:
> http://www.w3.org/TR/2008/WD-ct-guidelines-20080801/
Hi Kai, thank you for taking contact with me. As you may know, I have 
some strong viewpoints about the whole reformatting issue.

Here are my comments on the CT guidelines (CCing 

- the styleguide should spell out very clearly "The Transcoder is NOT 
allowed to change the User-Agent String".
  I understand that the current document says "do not change headers", 
but at the same time, there are clauses ("the user has specifically 
requested a restructured desktop experience") which would allow abusive 
transcoders to find an excuse and keep being abusive of the rights of 
content owners. Preventing transcoders from changing the UA string is an 
effective way to avoid this abuse.

- original headers MUST not be changed (User-Agent string has a special 
place, but also the UAProf x-wap-profile is very very relevant). This 
makes it unnecessary to explain how original header values are recast to 
different headers (this is not supposed to happen in any case). In 
short, should be removed.

- the "|application/xhtml+xml" MIME type should be the basis for an 
heuristics that informs transcoders that no transcoding must be applied. 
The rationale for this is obvious: this MIME type is being used for 
mobile content virtually exclusively these days

- There should be restrictions over how short a  page transcoders are 
allowed to reformat.  In no case should a page smaller than 10kb be 
reformatted (ideally this threshold should be higher, but 10kb will make 
it consistent with BT, so it would be a step in the right direction)
- Navigation bars: this is something that I would like to introduce in 
the Manifesto too. In no event should a transcoder add extra footers or 
headers (logos, extra navbars, advertisement and similar) without the 
consent of the content owner.

- Messing with HTTPS should not be permissible under any circumstances. 
Disrupting HTTPS they way transcoder do today is probably illegal and 
certainly unethical. HTTPS is built to guarantee end2end security. 
Breaking end2end security is probably illegal and certainly not an 
activity that W3C should endorse in any way.

- The list of "safe" URL patterns should be improved to support iphone.* 
and  */iphone/

Also, I see that CTG does not mention "whitelists". I think it should, 
since many transcoders manage that. The rule (consistently with the 
concept that transcoders must err on the side of not transcoding) should 
be that whitelists can only specify which potentially mobile sites can 
be forced to be trascoded (and not the other way around as happens to be 
common today, thus potentially forcing mobile developers to ask 
operators in different countries to whitelist their service, which is of 
course unacceptable).

I will forward this message to WMLProgramming (the WURFL mailing list) 
to see if other developers have something to add.

Thank you for the opportunity to comment on CT.

Luca Passani
Received on Monday, 4 August 2008 10:14:25 UTC

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