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Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Libreplanet using Discourse for mailing lists

From: Adonay Felipe Nogueira
Subject: Re: [libreplanet-discuss] Libreplanet using Discourse for mailing lists and web-based forums?
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2017 10:58:18 -0300
User-agent: Gnus/5.13 (Gnus v5.13) Emacs/25.2 (gnu/linux)

I agree with all that Mx. Nicholson said.

Also, to examplify the situation that Mx. Nicholson experienced, I must
say that we must distinguish betweeen what *can* be done in order
to attempt to use the service, and what ther service provider *offers*
you (in a visible way) in order to accomplish the same thing. This later
one depends on the server-side software implementation and depends on
how the *client-side* software (JS) is customized.

I also have to note that, although I'm *not* a web development and
security expert, and disregarding the possible limitations of the
service being provided in most sites that require authentication: I see
that there is the possibility of (why not?) copying the way GNU Mailman
uses to authenticate users (this doesn't require JS); using some
PHP-only authentication; or using a combination of HTTP Basic Access
Authentication (HTTP BAA, or HTTP BA) + HTTPS (this one is needed
because HTTP BAA puts important fields in the HTTP header). The HTTP BAA
(no HTTPS) is commonly used by modems and routers.

A difference between what the service provider *offers* to you to what
you currently *can* do can be seen in attempts of various people to
circunvent the JS requirements in some sites. Recently, I found an ugly
way to use some parts of Unimestre, a student information system made by
a Brazilian organization that goes by the same name. The ugly hack is
currently written in GNU Bash script, but I want to turn it into a
GreaseMonkey script (although I still have to learn how to do it).

As I'm not a developer, and I barely have the time to focus on
contributing to free software directly, it took me around one year just
to find out that most of the things Unimestre does are related to forms
with JS actions, with hidden input fields, no submit buttons, and forced
form submission through JS. This could be done, instead, with forms
without JS actions, still using hidden input fields, and with CSS
styling to make the submit button look like a link (or no CSS styling at
all for simplicity sake).

I see the current situation of Unimestre as undesirable, it did, and
still is, giv(e/ing) me headaches to do the most basic things.

The point is, Unimestre could have made the thing I'm struggling to do
now, right from the beginning and by default, instead of relying on JS
for openning links, submitting forms, downlaoding files, displaying

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