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[Bug 15380] Define a User-Agent string format subset (liason witth HTTP people etc)

From: <bugzilla@jessica.w3.org>
Date: Thu, 02 Feb 2012 11:57:24 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1RsvI4-0006nO-SU@jessica.w3.org>

--- Comment #18 from Henri Sivonen <hsivonen@iki.fi> 2012-02-02 11:57:22 UTC ---
(In reply to comment #17)
> But if you believe this is useful work then there's no reason why you couldn't
> define it in a separate document. If you need help with the IETF process, let
> me know.

A UA string spec written without the developers of the products that send UA
strings is going to fail. Don't bother.

UA strings are compromises between various considerations:
 * Wishing to look similar enough to what came before to satisfy existing
 * Wishing to look different from what came before to be recognized as
something different for promotional purposes.
 * Wishing to reveal as little information as possible to avoid fingerprinting
and to avoid giving sites the opportunity to sniff for inessential things and
ruin UX for some users whose browser sends something different for inessential
parts of the UA string.
 * Wishing to reveal as much information as possible for support forums,
software downloads, bug trackers or plain curiosity.
 * Etc., etc.

It's hard to get consensus on the balance of these things even within one
vendor. And if the end state of what you are trying to do results in different
UA strings between vendors, sites will continue to target browsers by vendor
and you haven't really accomplished a level playing field by standardization.

Ask yourself:
 * What problem are you trying to solve?
 * What's your solution?
 * Why would the stakeholders accept your solution?
 * Would your solution actually end up solving the problem?
 * How much damage would implementing your solution inflict?
 * Is your solution implementable on a vendor-by-vendor basis or does it
require everyone to ship at the same time?

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Received on Thursday, 2 February 2012 11:57:26 UTC

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