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Re: CT problem statement

From: Nigel Choi <nigelchoi@yahoo.com>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2007 18:48:33 -0700 (PDT)
To: Rhys Lewis <rhys@volantis.com>
Cc: public-bpwg-ct@w3.org
Message-ID: <119519.66578.qm@web35008.mail.mud.yahoo.com>
Hi Rhys,

Thank you for your detailed reply, and I appreciate the attempts in incorporating feedbacks from me.

Perhaps what I said about manipulation is hyperbole (the conspiracy theorist in me is getting the the best of me :) ). But it appears that those who engage in this Task Force initially are mostly Operators and Content Transformation Server vendors. Whether intentional or not, one would think from the standpoint that they are most familiar with, while neglecting the needs of others that are affected by the technology. In this case, it's easy for Content Transformation Server providers to justify their actions for the sake of "providing desktop information", while neglecting the consequences of their decisions and actions on Mobile Content Providers and Users. I can just see that spelled out from the latest draft sent by Sean Patterson. Your list of interested parties are "browser providers, transforming proxy 
providers, adaptation server providers," but it needs to be much wider. Everyone, from Content Providers, Network Operators and Users are affected by Content Transformation. Following this thought, I can understand why Jo and others are calling for participation here.

I don't deny the value of Transformation in advancing and encouraging the use of the mobile web. The issues of Content Transformation has been in the back of my mind for a while. Back when I was working for a Mobile Content Provider, we were receiving lots of traffic from the Google Web Transcoder to our already mobile-optimized servers.  I've  always wondered if there are ways to get around it (there is now). On the other hand, I use various Transcoders to read desktop-only sites when I am on the go.

It's true that Transcoders has been masquerading the User-Agent header since this technology is invented. But is that the right way to do it? That all existing transcoders are doing it doesn't necessarily mean it is right, and the recent Vodafone controversy just puts the issue up front and center. The context in which this is done needs to be carefully examined, and I think it may involve more than a pure technical discussion.


----- Original Message ----
From: Rhys Lewis <rhys@volantis.com>
To: Nigel Choi <nigelchoi@yahoo.com>
Cc: public-bpwg-ct@w3.org
Sent: Monday, September 24, 2007 12:13:36 AM
Subject: RE: CT problem statement


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 


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.


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.


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.


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 cases. 


best wishes


Lewis, Chair MWI BP Content Transformation Task Force
Received on Wednesday, 26 September 2007 01:48:47 UTC

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