[whatwg] RWD Heaven: if browsers reported device capabilities in a request header

On 2/7/12 9:13 AM, Matthew Wilcox wrote:
> To be clear: this is a case of browser vendors deciding it's too
> expensive and therefor not allowing it to be implemented

This is a case of browser vendors (or at least me with my browser 
implementor had on) thinking that sending this sort of information will 
hurt their users' privacy, will cause their users to get more broken 
pages (which is what happens in many cases with browser sniffing right 
now), will lock new devices out of the market (which is what happens 
with new UA strings right now).  And hence that the proposal is bad for 
the web in various ways.

Now obviously it's also good for the web in various ways, if people use 
the information "correctly" and such.  My faith in this is somewhat 
tarnished by the fact that every concrete proposal for using it that 
I've seen seems to be broken by design, which means that chances of 
anyone using it "correctly" are vanishingly small.  We should strive to 
provide information that will enable the server to better serve the user 
without it being rocket science to do so without breaking other users. 
The problem is that we haven't found a way to do that yet.

> when it should be
> authors in the position to know whether it's too expensive given their
> specific use case.

This is privileging authors over users.  I understand the author 
perspective on this, but in general I care about users more than we do 
about authors....  I don't think I'm the only one.

> No offense taken btw. Things have to prove themselves. The danger is the
> standards process is too slow to react well, and some even more hacky
> solution turning into a de-facto standard.

Yes, this is a problem.

> Devices of significantly varied size and performance are here to stay

Yes, but "size" and "performance" are not necessarily a function of the 
actual device.  They can be a function of the device, the network, the 
currently attached peripherals, etc.  Importantly, they are not 
time-invariant.  The question is what we can do about that...

(Simple example: the performance of my laptop will vary by easily a 
factor of close to 1.5 just depending on whether it's plugged in and 
what sort of surface it's resting on.  I expect this trend to continue 
unless we get some sort of revolutionary improvements in battery and 
cooling technology.)


Received on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 09:11:11 UTC