Re: transcoders bad

If a site is specifying it doesn't want to be transcoded, and that is
being ignored, I think absolutely everyone here agrees with you that
it's wrong and abusive. The point of this recommendation is to make it
clear, to sites and to transcoders, how to communicate this and how to
obey these wishes. So far I think there is 100% agreement.

What I personally don't understand, and I think the people behind this
document, is why this leads to conclusions like "don't change
User-Agent". That does not have to do with telling a transcoder to
leave you alone. Or why it leads to conclusions like "don't transcode
https". Those are the areas of apparent disagreement -- not what you

If your position is, bah, I just don't think transcoders should exist
at all, I have two legitimate responses:

1) Transcoders provide a lot of value too. I personally love them
since I don't have a fancy phone. I would not want to be shut out of
99.9% of the web while waiting for those great mobile developers to
port the whole web to XHTML, lovely as that would be. Without a doubt
I agree there are "good" and "bad" behaviors for transcoders, and we
should talk about that. That is not the extreme conclusion that
transcoders are bad. It's selfish to say that because they're not good
for you, that nobody should have a transcoder and I hope you are in
fact not taking that position.

2) Transcoders exist, dude. Sorry. They're not going away. It may feel
good to take a "principled" stand that they shouldn't, in which case
you are left with a good feeling and business problem. (Actually,
seems like this approach leaves you with anger and a business
problem.) Luca's got this part of it taken care of, if you want to be
part of that audience. This group is for those who are interested in
finding a way to work around behavior that's causing problems. It's
another option. You guys can decry it but I don't see why you spend so
much time bashing people trying to put out a legitimate, constructive,
useful alternative point of view.

On Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 5:21 PM, Terren Suydam
<> wrote:
> Would someone please explain to me how the "problem to be solved" is due to
> anything except transcoders abusing the boundaries of their business model?
> Put another way: why should any mobile developer have to do anything
> differently, beyond telling a transcoder to leave them alone? What possible
> consideration should we be willing to concede on and spend resources to
> address here?
> I promise that I am open to any legitimate answers to these questions.
> Terren
> Sean Owen wrote:
>> On Tue, Aug 5, 2008 at 5:03 PM, Luca Passani <> wrote:
>>> While I am here, I think it is a shame that W3C has accepted Novarra's
>>> attempt to redefine the mobile web, and I can't believe that you are
>>> supporting this with a straight face. Are you the same Sean Owen behind
>>> the
>>> W3C Best Practices?
>> I am embarrassed to say I have not followed this group closely in the
>> last few months. What are we talking about so I know what to be
>> outraged by? :)
>>> Look, the great majority of mobile site is built on top of UA detection.
>>> So,
>>> a transcoder which runs all HTTP traffic and changes the UA is abusive
>>> and I
>>> will tell the world that this is not acceptable no matter how much you
>>> keep
>>> trying to mud the water.
>> Yeah I have come to understand your point. So, sure, send no-transform
>> in all cases. User-Agent doesn't matter there. You want to send
>> no-transform but also know how to customize the content, based on
>> User-Agent, that will be sent straight back to the phone. You need to
>> consult User-Agent. You don't want to consult X-Device-User-Agent.
>> It strikes me as quibbling, and I dismiss it, perhaps cold-heartedly,
>> as "just two lines of code". I understand the position that you
>> shouldn't have to do a single thing differently to appease these
>> transcoders. I do think that, in the abstract, it is more logical for
>> a transcoder to change the UA. I understand your practical argument
>> against it.
>> I know am I a broken record now, but even if I shared your
>> revolutionary spirit and indignation... and I am not unsympathetic...
>> wouldn't you want to also solve your problem while decrying the
>> tyrants? I think this doc is just trying to sketch a realistic
>> solution. You may disagree on the details, yeah, that's OK. I think
>> it's a shame to call it names though since I think it is a more
>> sincere effort to solve problems for real developers. A professional
>> working group does not have the same luxury of casting stones from a
>> corner.
>> But I do...
>> Sean

Received on Tuesday, 5 August 2008 21:35:17 UTC