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Re: [ACTION 897] Establish best current practice regarding withrawal of use of X- form

From: Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no>
Date: Tue, 03 Feb 2009 00:09:31 +0100
Message-ID: <49877D2B.2060506@eunet.no>
To: public-bpwg@w3.org

Ray, I see your point and we pretty much agree on everything, except on 
whether transcoders are a hack or not.

I would like to stand my case here and argue again that transcoders are 
a hack. I'll admit that there may be circumstances in which they are a 
useful hack, but nevertheless a hack they are.

Looking at the always good WikiPedia, I read:


"In modern computer programming, a "hack" can refer to a solution or 
method which functions correctly but which is "ugly" in its concept, 
which works outside the accepted structures and norms of the 
environment, or which is not easily extendable or maintainable (see 
kludge <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kludge>)."

This applies to transcoders 100%. Given a website, there is no way for a 
developer (or anyone!) to tell what will be delivered to the end user 
once the website goes through a transcoder. In fact, given two different 
transcoders, the result will vary wildly. It all depends on some 
proprietary magic which happens inside the box and that only a few know 
in detail.

Now, the point I have been trying to make is not the transcoders should 
be declared illegal and the respective headquarters stormed by FBI 
tomorrow, but rather that those hacks should not be raised to the level 
of standards at the expense of real, respected, proven, established 
technologies and standards.

Thank you


Ray Anderson wrote:
> Luca,
> Transcoders are often useful to end users where the websites they are 
> trying to use have not (yet)
> optimized to their mobile device.
> They are really bad where they either hinder site owners benefiting 
> from device functionaity / knowledge
> or if they reduce functionality or security by being interposed at the 
> wrong time.
> Therefore they are not a "hack", but some transcoder vendors like to 
> brush over the truth / problems
> and because most Mobile operators have limited knowledge or 
> understanding in this area, they
> are easily misled.
> To be honest, I think W3C has become largely irrelevant in the scheme 
> of things, and hardly
> ever comes up in discussions / communications with web site builders.
> Ray
> seemAt 16:21 02/02/2009, Luca Passani wrote:
>> Charles McCathieNevile wrote:
>>> On Mon, 02 Feb 2009 16:54:44 +0100, Luca Passani <passani@eunet.no> 
>>> wrote:
>>>> Maybe everything would be solved in a more logical and coherent way 
>>>> if the group accepted the viewpoint that transcoding is a "hack", 
>>>> no matter how you look at it.
>>> Maybe, but I don't see any clear reason why one would accept that 
>>> viewpoint - it is not self-evident to me, and if the group has not 
>>> accepted it en masse already that suggests that it is really rather 
>>> less than self-evident.
>> No Charles. *It is* self evident. The only reason why you are denying 
>> reality is that transcoder vendors here have a commercial interest in 
>> using W3C as a selling tool for their hacks. Opera is doing exactly 
>> the same with OperaMini (which explains your position here).
>> By promoting transcoder interests within BPWG in the face of reality, 
>> Opera is losing the credibility it had accrued over the years as the 
>> champion of standards and developers.
>> Transcoding is a hack. A textbook example.
>> Luca
> Ray Anderson   CEO   Bango plc     Voice: +44 8700 340 361   
> ray@bango.com   GSM: +44 7768 454545 
Received on Monday, 2 February 2009 23:10:12 UTC

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