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

From: Boris Zbarsky <bzbarsky@MIT.EDU>
Date: Tue, 07 Feb 2012 12:17:09 -0500
Message-ID: <4F315C95.3050607@mit.edu>
On 2/7/12 4:28 AM, James Graham wrote:
> This basically amounts to "the requirements were wrong".

Given the limited information I have so far, yes.

> Since the same developer made both the desktop and mobile frontends and he is one of
> the major users of the system, and the mobile frontend was purely
> scratching his own itch, I find it very difficult to justify the
> position that he ought to have wanted something different to what he
> actually wanted and made.

The fewer users a system has the more weird the requirements can get.  I 
accept that.  I do wonder how much we should care about that on the web, 
though.

> In general the idea that sites/applications should be essentially the
> same, but perhaps slightly rearranged, regardless of the device they run
> on just doesn't seem to be something that the market agrees with.

I'm willing to accept that too.  How much of this is a matter of 
effectively cepy/paste, how much is a matter of this being the path of 
least resistance in the face of technical challenges and political 
opposition (e.g. removing most ads from the "desktop" version of a site 
might not be viewed favorably), and how much is actually dictated by the 
device differences is unclear to me.

> It seems to me that we can either pretend that this isn't true, and watch
> as platform-specific apps become increasingly entrenched, or work out
> ways to make the UX on sites that target multiple types of hardware as
> good as possible.

Clearly the latter is preferable.  It's hard to do that without very 
specific use cases; we've been getting some in this thread, but there's 
a high level of "we just want it to look different, and need a way to 
guess what it should look like" going on too.

> Of course. The critical point was that there was different information
> in the two cases.

This is the part I'd like to understand.  Why?  Did this have to do with 
the actual devices, or with the way the particular person happened to 
use the two devices in his day-to-day activities?  I realize you may not 
know.

That said, if the information was really _different_ then I'm not sure I 
agree with the "same URI" requirement.....

> So it seems to me that we have a problem that real people are hacking
> their way around by using techniques that are known to be suboptimal or
> downright harmful. Therefore we should take the desire for a solution
> seriously

Yes.

-Boris
Received on Tuesday, 7 February 2012 09:17:09 UTC

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