Re: extensions in Determining User Preference

On Apr 8, 2014, at 19:10 , Adrian Bateman <> wrote:

> On Tuesday, April 8, 2014 8:31 AM, David Singer wrote:
>> Hi Roy
>> something I am not clear about - was this introduction of a 'must' the
>> consequence of a decision we needed to implement, or something you noticed
>> and believed needed fixing?
>> If it's the former, could you identify the decision?  I think that if it's
>> the latter, we're at the stage where we need to say "there is an issue here"
>> and let the group and chairs decide whether to make a technical change,
>> rather than just making it.
>> (I'm still pondering the merits of the change itself, and I think we may well
>> need to discuss it.)
> My main concern with the proposal is the MUST requirement:
> "A user agent that allows extensions to directly make or modify HTTP requests MUST
> provide a corresponding API to those extensions for determining the user's tracking
> preference."
> The spec gives some examples of extensions but doesn't really define them. There are many
> different ways to extend a browser and I'm not convinced it is always possible to
> provide such an API.
> In the past, IE and others have provided similar APIs to allow plug-ins to determine
> private browsing modes so I don't think it's an unrealistic goal in general. However,
> it will be possible to write an extension where it would be hard to provide such an
> API and I think we need to recognise this in the spec.
> Given the previous discussions in this group I'm hesitant to suggest it but I think
> this requirement should be a SHOULD.

I am with you.  

It seems like a good idea to have extensions respect DNT. However, (a) I am not sure we can reasonably provide this API for all types of software that could be considered an extension, plug-in or add-on; and (b) in some cases, where the UA is in control of networking done by the extension, as with Safari Extensions, it would be more appropriate for the UA to automatically add the right DNT header and therefore there is no need to expose the preference. 

Based on these points, I think the requirement should be, for now,  a SHOULD.

Iím not saying that Roy hasnít raised a good point; itís that it needs consideration, looking at the cases, and so on.  

And I do feel that the spec. ought not be changing in normative language, at this stage, except by group decision (consensus or decision policy).  We could try and resolve this, or we could mark this question as one that we need feedback on during last call.

David Singer
Manager, Software Standards, Apple Inc.

Received on Tuesday, 8 April 2014 17:17:13 UTC