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Re: Comments on Content Transformation Guidelines?

From: Dennis Bournique <db@wapreview.com>
Date: Thu, 28 Aug 2008 13:23:10 -0700 (PDT)
To: public-bpwg-comments@w3.org
Message-ID: <368635.28409.qm@web81606.mail.mud.yahoo.com>

Thanks for the response Jo.

I looked at the sections of the Guidelines that you referred to and the strongest statement regarding user opt-out is in the Introduction which is non-normative.

> 1.4 Summary of Requirements
> 
>       5 The Content Transformation proxy needs to be able to interact >with the user:
>           1. to allow the user to disable its features;
>           2. to alert the user to the fact that it has transformed 
> content and to allow access to an untransformed representation of the 
> content.
> 

In the normative sections that you refer to:

Section 4.1.5 is about not altering headers and does not address opt-out specifically.

Section 4.1.5.3 refers to allowing the user to request a restructured experience - which I take to mean allowing the user to opt-in to transcoding even if the server provides a mobile specific version of the resource. I don't have any issues with that. Users should certainly be able to opt-in to transcoding of any content.  

What seems to be missing is a mandatory requirement that users be able to opt-out of content transformation for any page or all pages. 
The closest thing is in 4.3.6.1

> 4.3.6.1 Alteration of Response
>
> If a proxy alters the response then:
> 
>     1. ...
>     2. ...
>     3. It should indicate to the user that the content has been 
> transformed for mobile presentation and provide an option to view the 
> original, unmodified content.

I'm concerned with the use of "should" rather than "must".  To me, "Should" implies that providing opt-out is recommend rather than mandated.

In terms of not breaking existing sites and servers, opt-out is what is important. If the user believes that a transcoded resource is unsatisfactory, they "must" be able to request the original un-transformed resource. I'd think opt-out is too important to be a "should" 

Regarding session management, If the user requests an un-transcoded experience there is no need to maintain the current session.  A simple link to the original resource should suffice.  This is what several existing off-portal transcoders do including Skweezer, Mowser and Google GWT.  The user may have to re-login, etc., but I don't see any practical way to maintain the session which is likely to based on cookies held by the proxy. Opting-out takes the proxy out of the picture so session loss is inevitable.
Received on Thursday, 28 August 2008 20:23:59 GMT

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