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Re: Bjartur's Actual Criticism (finally)

From: Bjartur Thorlacius <svartman95@gmail.com>
Date: Fri, 16 Dec 2011 20:00:34 -0000
To: "Greg Billock" <gbillock@google.com>
Cc: WebIntents <public-web-intents@w3.org>
Message-ID: <op.v6llu7mbewg2x1@bxr>
On Fri, 16 Dec 2011 16:23:05 -0000, Greg Billock <gbillock@google.com>  
wrote:
> There's a lot to recommend this register-silently-then-select-upon-use
> model. That's partly why we want to have a declarative registration
> model, so that user agents can choose to behave this way. There are
> some
> complications. For instance, silent registration and then
> automatically following an intent with no user in the loop would allow
> for a new cross-site tracking mechanism, which is not acceptable. The
> user agent needs to be careful about such issues, but I think the
> problems are soluble.
>
User Agents should only follow the intents of users, not sites.
Users, not sites, choose actions. The current proposal gives the  
responsibility of choosing an action to scripts, but essentially requires  
that users select implementations of the action. The problem with this is  
twofold.

Firstly users must have the power to pick actions. In practice, scripts  
should defer to users but are left without a standard way to do so. And  
annoyingly, scripts have the power to refuse to ask users. Either way,  
usability is harmed. As for the representative example, I for one tend to  
read letters sites want me to spam representatives with, although this may  
correlate with my not having a representative.

Secondly, some actions are of such nature that many users have only one  
implementation to choose from. What actions these are varies between  
users. Prompts for choice one of one implementation are equivalent to  
OK/Cancel prompts. I should not have to state how harmful overuse of them  
is. Sites should of course not even be able to request the user run fdisk  
C: or mkfs /dev/sda.

The solution is obvious: let users choose actions (as sites could only be  
hoped to allow users to do) and optionally implementations.

Registering an action is akin to bookmarking. Automatic and silent  
registration will be great. User interfaces should display actions and  
implementations actually, and by extension often, used more prominently  
than those never needed and offer blacklisting for users that can be  
bothered. Whitelisting can of course be used in properly managed user  
agents. I expect user agents to be able to resolve this.

> Bjartur Thorlacius wrote:
>> Users can initiate actions on resources. Users can make two important
>> choices: what actions to initiate, and on what resources. Often, but not
>> always, they also want to choose the implementation of the action. For
>> some actions however, the user most certainly wants the only available
>> implementation. On the other hand, initiating an action for which no
>> implementation is available is an error.
>>
>> The User Agent manages the list of available implementations and media
>> types they accept, and thereby the list of valid actions for any type of
>> representation of a given resource. Given a resource and types only the
>> User Agent is able to present a list of valid actions to the user.
>>
>> Sites can offer resources, and they can offer services or  
>> implementations of
>> actions. User Agents can collect these offers and derive what
>> implementations can be applied to what resources. Finally, it is the  
>> user's
>> to tell the User Agent what actions to apply on what resources, and  
>> where
>> necessary, what implementation to use.
-- 
-,Bjartur
Received on Friday, 16 December 2011 20:01:14 GMT

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