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Re: Proposal of @ua

From: David E. Ross <david@rossde.com>
Date: Fri, 23 Nov 2007 11:34:20 -0800
Message-Id: <3.0.6.32.20071123113420.01492a38@mail.iswest.com>
To: www-style@w3.org

(This might be somewhat -- but not entirely -- redundant with my 18
Nov 2007 comments.)  

Browsers (other than perhaps Internet Explorer (IE)) have
implemented the ability to spoof other browsers.  For Opera, a
user-oriented spoofing capability is inherent in the "vanilla"
browser.  For Gecko-based browsers, there are a number of
user-oriented add-on extensions.  

These capabilities compensate for existing flaws in how sniffing for
browsers is implemented in Web sites.  So far, the Mozilla
organization has accumulated a list of more than 70 reports of Web
sites that do flawed sniffing, where Firefox works okay but other
Gecko browsers (e.g., SeaMonkey, Camino) do not work.  This is
because the sniffing is for "Firefox" and not for "Gecko".  

It appears that some of this sniffing is specifically for "Firefox
2", which will break when Firefox 3.0 is released next year.  As new
browser versions are released, version sniffing requires ongoing
costs for maintaining Web sites without delivering any benefits to
either site owners or visitors.  

Those who think flawed sniffing is a problem caused primarily by
unqualified Web developers, need to think again.  Among the sites
with flawed sniffing are Microsoft's Hotmail, Google, Comcast's ISP
service, and Ebay.  

I don't think this proposal will eliminate flawed sniffing.  It
might even make flawed sniffing easier.  And the proposal that Web
developers always include a @ua for "everything else" cannot be
enforced.  There is not even a way to enforce HTML and CSS
validation of every Web page.  

Therefore, I don't see the developers of other browsers preventing
users from spoofing IE or any other browser through @ua (or any of
the alternatives suggested here).  Prohibiting spoofing would drive
away potential users.  Thus, spoofing will remain a factor, which
will easily defeat the purpose of this proposal.  

I must side with the others who believe that use of cross-platform,
cross-browser HTML and CSS is the proper way to develop Web sites.
This proposal would instead facilitate platform-specific,
browser-specific Web sites.  


David E. Ross
<http://www.rossde.com/>.  

Don't ask "Why is there road rage?"  Instead, ask 
"Why NOT Road Rage?" or "Why Is There No Such 
Thing as Fast Enough?" 
<http://www.rossde.com/roadrage.html>
Received on Friday, 23 November 2007 19:46:20 GMT

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