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[Bug 7428] Safari 4 preloads media and FF 3.5 doesn't in <audio> tag; perhaps HTML5 sections are unclear or need a 'preloading' attribute added.

From: <bugzilla@wiggum.w3.org>
Date: Wed, 26 Aug 2009 17:45:36 +0000
To: public-html-bugzilla@w3.org
Message-Id: <E1MgMYy-0006Px-1J@wiggum.w3.org>

--- Comment #2 from Steven Rowat <steven_rowat@sunshine.net>  2009-08-26 17:45:35 ---
(In reply to comment #1)
> Your 'autoload' suggestion means exactly the same thing as 'autobuffer' already
> does.

You're partly right, but only because my suggestion wasn't clearly worded. Yes,
we only need one of them. See below for why the current use of 'autobuffer' is

> I think the spec already suggests to do what Firefox does.

I don't find anything in the wording to support this. 

"The autobuffer... hints to the user agent ....This attribute may be ignored
altogether. The attribute must be ignored if the autoplay attribute is

This says nothing about whether to preload or not. Is there something else
somewhere else in the spec that I've missed? If not, I believe FF's developers
made an educated guess about whether to preload. I believe more direction than
that is required. 

> But the spec can't
> totally forbid preloading of any content the browser wants to, "autobuffer" or
> not, so Safari's behaviour should not be forbidden by the spec. 

I disagree strongly. Perhaps it can't 'totally forbid', but certainly it can
'highly recommend' in a case where there is a legitimate need, identified by
the page author, that a certain page (with many controllers), not preload, if
that would render the page unusable. 

My point, again, is that whether or not to preload media is legitimately a
matter that depends on network conditions to some degree in any situation; but
in the special situation where the page references to more data than can be
comfortably handled by the network in the first few seconds (or minutes!) the
best available solution appears to be to delay preloading. The page author is
the person who is going to know this first and best, so they need a tool to
indicate it.

Or, another option (more complicated, probably, but maybe preferable in some
way) is that some elements/attributes can be defined so that the user-agent
recognizes when it is loading multiple controllers and using more local
CPU/memory than the local interface can handle (rendering cursor unusuable, for
example) and decides on its own, based on this evidence, to stop the preloading
for this page. Then the page author wouldn't need to be involved.

But it still seems easier to me just to restate the terms of use for
'autobuffer' and 'autoplay' so preloading can be prohibited by the author.

Steven Rowat

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Received on Wednesday, 26 August 2009 17:45:45 UTC

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