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RE: CT problem statement

From: Rhys Lewis <rhys@volantis.com>
Date: Mon, 24 Sep 2007 01:13:36 -0600 (MDT)
To: "'Nigel Choi'" <nigelchoi@yahoo.com>
Cc: <public-bpwg-ct@w3.org>
Message-ID: <00be01c7fe7a$cf1c6bc0$8f1e140a@volantisuk>
Hello Nigel,

As chair of the Content Transformation Task Force within the Mobile Web
Initiative Best Practices (MWI BP) group at W3C, I'm naturally very
interested in your comments. Can I just point out that Dan Appelquist is
one of the joint chairs of the MWI BP, along with Jo Rabin. He is not
actually chair of the task force.

I should say at the outset that I don't recognise any manipulation of the
task force by anyone, including Vodafone. I would be interested in knowing
why you feel that this is, or may be happening. This may simply be a
failure of communication on my part. The task force is relatively new.

You are of course correct in that standards activities take time. However,
I'm very encouraged by the level and breadth of participation in the CT
task force. The problem of ensuring that the various software entities,
that may be involved in the delivery of material from servers to clients,
know about each other and are able to behave appropriately, has been known
about for some time. Only recently, however, have the technologies
actually been deployed, leading to the kinds of difficulty that we have
seen this summer on the Web.

The solution to the problem involves not only origin servers that can
perform adaptation and transforming proxies, but mobile browsers too.
Ideally, I would like to see a situation where users can choose whether to
receive an optimised mobile view of a particular site, or the original
desktop version. The transformations necessary to receive the desktop
version might happen in a proxy, or, as is increasingly the case with
modern, mobile browsers, in the device itself.

There is a real tension between ensuring that the needs of authors who
create optimised, mobile sites are met while also meeting the needs of
users who want to be able to see desktop materials if they choose. The
content transformation task force is trying to address this tension. The
good news is that all of the interested communitites (browser providers,
transforming proxy providers, adaptation server providers) are engaged.
The even better news is that there is a feeling that by simply using
existing HTTP faciltites, we may be able to provide a solution which could
be quickly implemented. It is early days, and only time will tell.

The W3C operates by consensus. Only when agreement is reached within the
CT task force, and within the entire MWI BP,  will any work be published.
At that stage, the entire membership of the W3C and the public have the
right to challenge the work formally. Not until all comments have been
properly addressed can the work proceed to the point of being a
recommendation. This is part of the reason why standardisation takes time,
but it is a vital part of a process that ensures that all interested
parties have the right to participate and to influence the outcome of the
work. My personal experience is that this is a very open and transparent
process. My expectation is that we will be able to provide a solution that
is acceptable to all.

Can I just add my thanks to you for providing the specific, substantive
comments that Jo requested in a separate e-mail exchange. My personal
feeling is that the guidelines will be primarily a technology document, as
that is generally the purpose of W3C work. The problem statement may well
include discussion of the rationale for the technology, and specific use

Very best wishes

Rhys Lewis, Chair MWI BP Content Transformation Task Force


From: public-bpwg-ct-request@w3.org [mailto:public-bpwg-ct-request@w3.org]
On Behalf Of Nigel Choi
Sent: 21 September 2007 17:28
To: Magnus Lönnroth; public-bpwg-ct@w3.org
Subject: Re: CT problem statement

Hi Magnus, Jo,

Thank you for your replies. I appreciate the conversation and your work in
the Mobile Web working group. Perhaps I misread or misunderstood what the
Problem Statement is supposed to mean. And as Jo said in another e-mail,
yes it was not clear that the document is supposed to describe the current

I am sure you are aware of the firestorm brewing about Vodafone's practice
of changing the User-Agent header. I really do not want to throw around
accusations and attribute malice to what could have simply been bad
judgment on the part of Vodafone and players in W3C. But what Vodafone has
done so far is not to recognize their mistake, but to consistently defend
their moves with technically unsound reasoning. Worse of all, they are
pointing to this W3C Task Force as the place to "participate" in "solving"
the problem. As with any standards-making process, it is going to take a
while. But the damage is done by Vodafone right this moment, so it seems
to be a stalling tactic. In addition to that, a Vodafone representative,
Daniel Appelquist, is a chair of this Task Force. All these creates an
impression that Vodafone is manipulating this Task Force for their own
gain and an excuse for their action.

Received on Monday, 24 September 2007 07:13:52 UTC

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