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ACCEPT and DEVICE (was Re: HTML forms)

From: James P. Salsman <bovik@best.com>
Date: Sat, 1 Apr 2000 16:30:23 -0800 (PST)
Message-Id: <200004020030.QAA07416@shell9.ba.best.com>
To: stephanos@webreference.com
Cc: ietf@ietf.org, www-forms@w3.org, www-html@w3.org
Stephanos,

Thanks for your message:

>... You need detailed definitions, changes to DTDs, and more.
> If you have these details, it would be nice to point us all to a
> proposal so we know how "DEVICE" and "MAXTIME" would work.

Sorry about not pointing to this document:

  http://www.bovik.org/device-upload.html

in every message.  It started out as an Internet Draft in late 1997.

> WHAT CONCERNS [from Norman Solomon's article in FAIR's _Extra!_],
> and HOW DO THEY RELATE TO THIS DISCUSSION?

The same concerns I had after participating in the W3C's extended 
forms working group for most of last year -- that they care far 
more about e-commerce that they should (to the point of wanting to 
completely overhaul perfectly serviceable HTML forms as the are) 
and at the same time are seriously neglecting educational needs.

>... We've HAD this technical discussion here AGES ago. Create a form,
> give it an accept type of audio/whatever and let the user agent 
> bother about how to get it. If that's too primitive for your needs,
> go and create a separate protocol....

Not only does the chair of the HTML Working Group and everyone 
else in the W3C who has spoken out on the topic, including 
Tim Berners-Lee, agree with these sentiments, SO DO I!!!  In 
a perfect world, all of the browser authors would implement
device upload using the ACCEPT attribute within INPUT TYPE=FILE.

However, in the world we live in, NONE of them have done that.  
The only reason why that I've been able to find, after years 
of communication with them and studying their code, when it has 
been available, is that many major releases of the big-two 
browsers have interpreted the ACCEPT attribute as a filename 
pattern.  The underlying reason is that at for a long while, 
the official HTML 3.2 specification suggested ACCEPT was 
supposed to be a filename pattern, so that was the correct 
behavior as interpreted by the browser developers, and it has 
probably become part of some legacy application somewhere.

So people have a choice, between idealism, where everybody 
faithfully implements the specs exactly as they are handed 
down (even if they don't remain consistent between revisions 
of the same version number), and pragmatism, where the 
introduction of an extra attribute (such as DEVICE) would 
allow the browser authors to rest easy that they aren't 
breaking anyone's legacy implementations of a ACCEPT, while 
at the same time providing a way to specify a default device 
selection.  Setting aside the fact that the HTML Working 
Group claims it would be bad user interface design to allow 
for the selection of a default (a position I find untenable),
which is the practical choice?

Which is better for spoken language instruction?

Which makes it more likely that mass-market portable wireless 
boxes will implement high-quality asynchronous voice messaging
even under very-low-bandwidth conditions?

Cheers,
James

P.S. sorry about the echoed message sans my reply
Received on Saturday, 1 April 2000 19:30:55 GMT

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