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[whatwg] RWD Heaven: if browsers reported device capabilities in a request header (Boris Zbarsky)

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Mon, 06 Feb 2012 14:48:29 -0500
Message-ID: <4F302E8D.8090407@mit.edu>
On 2/6/12 2:24 PM, Irakli Nadareishvili wrote:
> if you don't mind me saying it, I am afraid you may be missing the point of this request.

I certainly hope I am!  What I understood the request to be doesn't make 
any sense.

> In Responsive Web Design, device capabilities are used in a high-level fashion to determine a class of the device: smartphone, tablet, desktop.

If that's the information you need to know (why, exactly?), why not just 
send _that_ information instead of various proxies like device screen size?

Incidentally, what class is this device: 
http://eee.asus.com/en/eeepad/transformer/specification/ ?

It has a 10" touchscreen, 1280x800 device resolution, and an optional 
keyboard.  Is this a "tablet" or a "desktop"?

Compare to the 11" version of http://www.apple.com/macbookair/specs.html 
(which has a pretty similarly sized non-touch, for now, screen and 
similar resolution; the aspect ratio is 16:9 for this device and 16:10 
for the Asus device above).  Presumably this device is uniformly 
classified as a "desktop" by everyone attempting such classifications?

> There is no need for exact viewport state.

OK.  Then what state do you need, exactly, and why?

> This is so much so that, in our discussion on the Firefox forum, it was suggested that maybe browsers just report device class: https://support.mozilla.org/en-US/questions/917322

This would be a lot more useful than trying to guess "device class" 
based on proxies like screen size.  It would, in particular, allow the 
UA to claim that the Asus device above is a "desktop" if that leads to a 
better user experience.  Or to claim that the Macbook Air is a "tablet", 
especially when it grows a touchscreen.

> This could be a great solution for all purposes, with one caveat: logic for which devices should belong to which category may change and whether browser vendors can adapt quicker or it's better if they provide raw data and let server developers adapt their server-side code, is debatable.

I may be biased, but I think the browser has a much better idea of 
"device class" than you can infer from a screen size.

> Hope this clarifies the intent of the request/proposal.

Well, it clarifies that I understood it correctly....

-Boris
Received on Monday, 6 February 2012 11:48:29 UTC

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