W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > www-tag@w3.org > August 2006

Re: Approved TAG finding: Authoritative Metadata

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Wed, 9 Aug 2006 03:16:12 +0000 (UTC)
To: "Roy T. Fielding" <fielding@gbiv.com>
Cc: W3C TAG <www-tag@w3.org>
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.62.0608090309460.5340@dhalsim.dreamhost.com>

On Tue, 8 Aug 2006, Roy T. Fielding wrote:
> On Aug 8, 2006, at 6:14 PM, Ian Hickson wrote:
> > This isn't because of lazyness. This is because ANY BROWSER THAT ACTUALLY
> No, that's total speculation.  None of them have even tried to implement 
> a configuration option for identifying incorrect content types as an 
> error, let alone deployed it in the market.

Actually, they have (and I've been directly involved with their 
development, usually in a QA capacity). They never make it past the beta 
release stage because the vendors get so many bug reports and complaints 
about sites breaking -- critically important sites like cnn.com, 
slashdot.org, hotmail.com, myspace.com -- that they have to revert to the 
sniffing behaviour.

This isn't speculation at all. I'm speaking from direct personal 
experience working for and with browser vendors.

> Your argument for sniffing completely ignores the rationale for having 
> content-type in the first place, as described in the finding.

I'm intimately familiar with the issue; as I mentioned in the post to 
which you replied, I've been trying to get browsers to do this right for 
around eight years. I don't just mean I've been writing them letters or 
speaking to them in meetings or something like that; I've been actively 
involved as employees of browser vendors, as members of their open source 
communities, going to engineers and getting patches checked in, fighting 
huge battles on internal mailing lists and in bug systems.

I *want* the Content-Type header to be used. But like I said, there comes 
a time where one has to realise that one is beating a dead horse.

> It exists so that the same data format can be interpreted in different 
> ways, depending on the nature of the resource.  There is no way that you 
> can accomplish that with sniffing, just as there is no way that HTML5 is 
> going to change the normative interpretation of an IETF standard.

With all due respect, standards are of no use when they aren't followed.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Wednesday, 9 August 2006 03:16:31 UTC

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