However there are some questions from the mobile side they would like to answer but haven’t sufficiently worked through yet. For instance what information do you send up to the server to make sure you get back “the right page” for a user. We’ve gone through these kinds of discussions before around belligerent or hostile proxy activity.
But say you have the ability to render a desktop page on a mobile device in a way that was never possible before, and to do it across platforms. Do you identify yourself as a desktop browser and display the full version? Or do you mix in some info about the device and possibly get the mobile version instead? Sometimes content or downloads meant for your device are based on reading out the user agent associated with your device. If we send that along the original phone user agent (using something like the unfortunately named X-OperaMini-Phone-UA header) then site owners have to pick up an additional header to act on. And at times it’s hard to pick up the original user agent unless you can sniff it out during an over the air download.
In the proxy world the accepted proper behavior is to pick up the handheld version header and redirect directly to that. One possibility is to provide some UI elements that indicate there’s a handheld version available and give the user the option to switch to that.
It would be great if there was a way to pull together some of this different stuff (pickup up additional headers from proxies and browsers and proxy based browsers) so that developers don’t have to add new logic every time a new browser or service comes out. Until the overall questions are settled it’s hard to standardize, but then again code speaks pretty loud. I wonder if just making a set of rules and an implementation would be the best way to handle the proliferation of techniques. The specs and standards don’t really seem to address the root issue here. For instance the content transformation landscape doc from the W3C is aimed at a much different level – once you have some content how do you handle it. Where this is more of an identification issue, how do you properly represent what you are so that you can get the “right” content?