W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > May 2002

Re: Proposed TAG Finding: Internet Media Type registration, consistency of use

From: Simon St.Laurent <simonstl@simonstl.com>
Date: 22 May 2002 12:03:21 -0400
To: www-tag@w3.org
Message-Id: <1022083402.958.250.camel@localhost.localdomain>
On Wed, 2002-05-22 at 11:52, Tantek =?ISO-8859-1?B?xw==?=elik wrote:
> This was my favorite part:
> 
>   "An example of incorrect and dangerous behavior is a user-agent that reads
> some part of the body of a response and decides to treat it as HTML based on
> its containing a <!DOCTYPE declaration or <title> tag, when it was served as
> text/plain or some other non-HTML type."
> 
> Incorrect and dangerous?
> 
> While it is a laudable goal to avoid and/or limit sniffing when at all
> possible, unsubstantiated comments like these are inflammatory at best, and
> horribly naive at worst - given how many HTML (.html etc.) pages are still
> served as text/plain. (Nevermind GIFs and other images served as
> text/plain).

Uh, Tantek?  I think the XML community has little or no patience for the
notion that the user-agent is supposed to fix errors made by the
author.  If I remember correctly, this draconian notion came from both
Microsoft (are you still at MS?) and Netscape, who were tired of having
to deal with such issues on a regular basis.

However much it may pain the generous souls maintaining browsers, it's
reasonably clear that such forgiveness isn't helping anyone, and pretty
much just encourages more bad behavior.

> My second favorite part:
> 
>   "Web software SHOULD NOT attempt to recover from such errors by guessing,
> but SHOULD report the error to the user to allow intelligent corrective
> action."
> 
> Typically a user of a web site does not have the ability to correct the
> website itself.  Nevermind perform an "intelligent corrective action".
> Which usability genius decided that it was a good idea to report errors to
> the user that are meaningless to the typical user (typical user has zero
> knowledge about mime types) and the user has no chance of fixing?

Typically the owners of a Web site would be smart to test their site in
software which actually conforms to the rules specifying the technology
used to create the site.

> If a UA did report such errors with a web site, the typical user would take
> the corrective action they usually take when errors are reported from a
> website, and that is to try a different UA.

Which is perhaps why ALL UA's should be expected to enforce the rules
equally lest bad behavior become a marketing point.
 
-- 
Simon St.Laurent
Ring around the content, a pocket full of brackets
Errors, errors, all fall down!
http://simonstl.com
Received on Wednesday, 22 May 2002 11:59:12 UTC

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.4.0 : Friday, 17 January 2020 22:55:51 UTC