W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > public-bpwg@w3.org > March 2009

Re: FYI - "Mobile Web 2009 = Desktop Web 1998"

From: Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no>
Date: Fri, 06 Mar 2009 12:40:32 +0100
Message-ID: <49B10BB0.8000702@eunet.no>
To: public-bpwg@w3.org
Bruce Lawson wrote:
> yes, I'm very lucky to work for a company whose philosophical premise 
> I share. And, as you noticed, I make no attempt to hide my affiliations.


>> Back to the point, no, convergence isn't happening. One nasty side 
>> effects of the attempt by companies like Novarra, Opera and others to 
>> "demonstrate" that convergence is happening is the attempt to 
>> redefine HTTP and the rules on which the success of the web is built. 
>> This is a disaster and needs to be stopped.
> We're totally open: Opera Mini quite clearly states "Is there any 
> end-to-end security between my handset and — for example — paypal.com 
> or my bank? No. If you need full end-to-end encryption, you should use 
> a full Web browser such as Opera Mobile."
> Barclays Bank recommends it http://www.barclays.mobi/

I suspect that whoever made the choice had not fully grasped the fact 
that their secure HTTPS is being broken at your proxy.

> Opera mobile does not "attempt to redefine HTTP".

with reference to past discussions on this list, I think this is 
arguable (ref: HTTPS and how it can be legitimately tampered with). 
Personally, I think that the use that is being made of a "virtually 
forgotten" header such as "cache-control: no-transform" is also an 
attempt to redefine HTTP.

>> The success of the web was based on the basic assumption that whoever 
>> could publish web content and they would know what end-users would see.
> No. The success of the web was based
>> Some applications are naturally mobile only (think 
>> ringtone/wallpapers downloads).
> Yes, but that's an edge case - entirely device-specific content.

which happens to be where most of the money has been in mobile (after 
voice and SMS, of course).
Anyway there are others examples.
Anyway my point that it must be a content owner's decision to "export" 
their content to mobile devices. It cannot be "mandated" by W3C, by 
Opera, by Novarra or by anyone else.

>> The way Opera is trying to "enforce" convergence now is messy and 
>> tries to replace what content owners have created with a bastardized 
>> version of it
> If I have a black and white TV, I can watch a technicolour movie in 
> black and white, regardless of the director's intention.

IMO,  with transcoding you should reverse the analogy. The director may 
have prepared a technicolor movie for mobile devices, but the transcoder 
forces mobile users to see the miniaturized full-version in black and white.

> Content owners create content, and they own it. They recommend display 
> but do not own the end user's experience.

I wouldn't go as far as saying that content owners do not own the user 
experience. I think they do. I also think that it probably does not make 
much business sense for content owners to go out of their way to prevent 
techie users from redefining the user experience. On the other hand, I 
think it is a total abuse when a third-party changes the user experience 
for users without content owners' consent.

> If you have an old browser, a site coded with progressive enhancement  
> might not show the styling, but it will show the content.
> Users can apply user css to any site and change its look and feel.

correct. But:
1) only a few techie users will
2) that's the user who takes the responsibility for its actions

> If your site can be found in Google, the search results will probably 
> have some of your content below the link to your site, and it will 
> look like a Google search result and not be in your site's preferred 
> font or colour.

It does not make business sense for companies to avoid showing up in 
google (there's no damage. Quite the opposite. It's an advantage). To 
add to that, they also have a way to opt-out (robots.txt) which is much 
easier to apply then cache-control:no-transform (which needs to be 
applied on each and every element in a page, according to CTG).

I find this situation you describe profoundly different from transcoding 
the whole page without the consent of the copyright holder, often 
stripping out ads and banners which constitute a site's business model 
(not to mention the case when operators inject their own ads in the 

Received on Friday, 6 March 2009 11:41:10 UTC

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