[standards-jig] On the Subject of Avatars

Bob Wyman bob at wyman.us
Sun Jul 20 21:55:29 UTC 2003

Evan Prodromou wrote:
> I dislike JEP 0084 for the following reasons:...
>  * requires pubsub
    The use of PubSub overcomes what would, for many people, 
be a major objection to the approach that you propose. That 
is: Your approach requires polling of the vCard from time to 
time to determine whether or not the avatar has changed. 
Given that avatars, as images, can be "large", this means 
that it is likely that a great deal of network bandwidth will 
be consumed in regularly discovering that the avatar has not, 
in fact, actually changed.
    Admittedly, requiring something to use PubSub today, when 
it is still not an accepted standard and there is very little 
experience with it, can be seen as a negative. However, in 
time, as we all become more familiar and comfortable with 
PubSub, the situation will be different. Personally, I think 
that when one writes a standard, you should be focused on the 
world as it will be as the standard will be used -- i.e. the 
world of the future -- not the world as it exists today. 
Today, PubSub is new, unfamiliar and to some a bit strange. 
In the future, it will be common, familiar and the obvious 
solution for avoiding polling in many, many applications. 
   I wonder if a "compromise" might be appropriate here. For 
instance, how about proposing that the vCard carry just 
the "meta-data" that JEP-0084 defines? This would reduce the 
complexity somewhat without burdening the vCard with the 
weight of the avatar images. On the other hand, we must 
recognize that the meta-data changes from time to time, as 
can any of the content of the vCard. Perhaps what we need is 
a PubSub node that one can subscribe to in order to rapidly 
discover when a vCard has been changed...

     bob wyman

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