Browser user-agent considered harmful (was Re: wine and IE)
on Tue, Mar 04, 2003 at 10:28:43PM -0600, Kent West (firstname.lastname@example.org) wrote:
> Karsten M. Self wrote:
> >Moreover: even in the corporate world, if two business needs make
> >conflicting browser demands, you may not be able to accomodate them
> >(particularly for specific versions of MSIE after 5.x).
> >For this and other reasons, I consider the browser user-agent string to
> >be harmful. You can join the protest:
> > http://twiki.iwethey.org/twiki/bin/view/Main/UserAgentString
> Oh sure, use a phrase that discourages Christians and other
> non-profanity users from participating in this community. Otherwise
> I'd certainly give this movement serious consideration.
> Call me a prude.
There's a rationale to this.
Supposing you're a CIO, portal manager, or other officer in charge of a
website, and the webgrunt presents you with the list of most rapidly
increasing user-agent strings.
Strings containing an obscenity are clearly provocative. The executive
who finds this string on the weblog report realizes that this is the
straight dope -- she's not seeing a doctored or sanitized report. The
truth is being revealed, and and she'd best take heed. It's *meant* to
be a little shocking. Limited results show that people *do* notice the
string if they look through their logs at all.
Of course, since I already advocate treating the user-agent header as
harmful, then you're welcome to substitute any value you prefer.
However a degree of uniformity would be useful as this will create a
Actually, there are some other criticisms of the string I'd suggest:
many logs only pick up a limited number of bytes of the user-agent
header. So it might be better to put the standards component (the
significant part of the message) first.
And an aside: in my experience, religious persuasion and proclivities
toward profanity are wholly orthogonal.
Karsten M. Self <email@example.com> http://kmself.home.netcom.com/
What Part of "Gestalt" don't you understand?
Linux: Good, fast, _and_ cheap.