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Re: Microsoft IE -- it just gets better and better (fwd)

From: Matthew James Marnell <marnellm@portia.portia.com>
Date: Sat, 27 Jan 1996 12:25:04 -0500
Message-Id: <199601271725.MAA04403@portia.portia.com>
To: BearHeart / Bill Weinman <bearheart@bearnet.com>
Cc: Brian Behlendorf <brian@organic.com>, www-talk@w3.org
:>   User-Agent may not be the most technologically whiz-bang thing 
:>you can think of for content-negotiation, but it works. 

Not only isn't it not the most whiz-bang thing, but totally bass
ackwards in the realm of content negotiation.

:>   Your justifying Microsoft's mockery of it is a slap-in-the-face to 
:>all the people who are working their collective ass off in a monumental, 
:>cooperative, and VOLUNTEER effort to create a set of standards that 
:>will allow the Net to grow and thrive. 

Hmmmm, I just did a 'string' on Netscape here, fired up emacs and
changed the string that Netscape sends.  Simple.

:>   The user-base wants to be able to use Netscape's extensions. That's 
:>obvious. Depending on who's stat's you choose to believe, Netscape's 
:>browsers are prefered approx 3:1 over everything else combined. 

All this goes to prove is how meaningless these numbers are.  I
see roughly 60% netscape in the logs we maintain.  But, even these
are whacked.  I was surprised the other day at just how many version
of netscape are out there.  We have seen significant numbers of
pre 1.0 Netscape browsers in our logs.  The actual number of users
using 1.12 and 2.0b are much smaller than 60 or 75%.

:>   But authors don't want to exclude everyone else, so they USE the 
:>user-agent string to serve up different content for Netscape and 
:>all-the-others (even Yahoo! does this). This obviously made Billy G. 
:>feel left out. He tried to make a DIFFERENT set of extensions 
:>so HIS TOY could get it's own set of content, but the authors didn't 
:>buy into it. He was still part of the "all-the-others". 

And who's to say that the next big browser won't break the user-agent
content negotiation even more.

:>   So now he's trying to (a) break the system by mocking the user-agent 
:>tag with that silly "configuration option" (I know what I would put 
:>in MINE if I was stupid enough to install that piece of @#$! on my 
:>system again), and/or (b) at least get some of the pretty content 
:>displayed to his users by sources like "Yahoo!" that actually DO 
:>serve up different content for "Mozilla" and "All-the-rest". 

This ain't all that different than Netscape trying to break the
standards that the web was built on.  What really annoys me is that
even when I have another browser that groks Netscape stuff, yahoo
still serves me "all-the-rest".  What a pitiful way to piss people
off.

:>   In short, 
:>
:>   1) the User-Agent tag is USEFUL. 

If you want to waste monumental amounts of time.  It's still easy
to use the bulk of Netscape tags without ruining it for the rest
of the browsers out there.  Write one page and have it look good
on every browser.  Still a nifty concept, that.

:>   2) Your comment is an insult to the people who have been trying 
:>      to make sense of all of this. 

Make sense of something senseless.  I can understand how you could be
insulted.  Spending all that time on something, and having people
ignore your efforts.  I hate to say someone told you so, but there
was a great amount of discussion on this list saying that content
neg'n based on user-agent would be a waste of time.  So, in effect,
they told you so.

:>   3) Microsoft has just made life that much more difficult for 
:>      those of us who have been successfully negotiating content 
:>      based on the User-Agent tag. 

No matter how much I hate MS and BillyBoy, they're no better or worse
than Netscape was/is.  If you want to lay blame, lay it at Netscape's
door.  They started the whole thing.  Who even wanted user-agent logging
until Netscape had 30 different browsers that everyone was trying to
write to.

:>   I thank them for nothing, 
:>       and I thank you for nothing. 

You were warned your efforts would be thankless.

Matt
Received on Saturday, 27 January 1996 12:25:22 GMT

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