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Re: Enforce reloading of page when using the back-button

From: John Hardy <jh@lagado.com>
Date: Thu, 9 Mar 2000 15:23:56 +1100
Message-ID: <00af01bf897f$4a19cd00$fe482bcb@lagado.com>
To: <www-talk@w3.org>
Grahame Grieve wrote:

: >> This was discussed before on this list.
:
: >I would appreicate a pointer to the relevant
: >part of the archive.
:
: Sorry Dan, couldn't find it. Maybe it was another
: list. Couldn't find it in my mail archives either.
: Will send it to the list if I find it.

This topic was raised in a wide ranging and interesting discussion in June-July 1999 under the
thread "Tracking hits without cache-busting" and refined later into "Static? Dynamic?"

Highlights include:

Koen Holtman: on the history of the back button and history function, and why it is the way it is.

Neil Gulati: "To bring it to the point. F*** the "BACK" button. I hardly ever use it myself, and so
believe users are ready to leave it behind as well."

Grahame Grieve : "why should a user perceive any difference between a page they got from going back
and a page they got from going forward? In highly dynamic web applications this caching of back
business is a big problem with the http standard. I settle this by trying to prevent the user from
desiring to use the back button at all."

Paul Burchard: "One of the most important design principles of the web -- in strong distinction to
the "multimedia" world -- is that BOTH the consumer and provider need to have control over the
presentation of information (temporally, logically, and visually).  The social contract which gives
the largest value-multiplier is the one in which then consumer's presentation choices are
authoritative, while the providers' presentation choices serve as the ubiquitous default."

Dan Conolly: "Wow ... And to think I've considered closing www-talk because it was becoming
content-free!"

In fact, it seems to me that this is the ONLY topic that ever gets lively on www-talk :-j

To recap: We have this recurring frustration that "full-blow" application developers like Grahame
have in not being able to completely control the user's browser in the way that they presumably used
to be able to when they wrote the GUI for the desktop.

His example of highly sensitive data is an interesting one because really there isn't a way of
ensuring the security of the data without the co-operation of the user. If the data is sensitive it
needs to be in the users own interest to close down his/her browser to end the session. I know this
is weak. For something like that the universal browser isn't up to the job, it sounds like either
ship the user a modified browser or do it in a plugin/applet.

As for everybody else the opposite need is the case. Many websites break the back button simply
because the author is too entrenched in the old ways of doing things that they miss the point that
HTTP is a sessionless protocol.

These sites prefer to control navigation through the excessive use javascript and session variables
and want to manufacture and control the user "experience". This is because they don't realise that
users are already too sophisticated to be controlled.

When I see a site which refuses to let me open a new browser window when I want to (complaining with
a javascript error instead) or break my precious back button because of their lame navigation model,
I reach for my browning.

;-j

...john
Received on Wednesday, 8 March 2000 23:22:55 GMT

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