Definition: User Agent

By Jack Krupansky

(1) A user agent is application software under control of a user which accesses, manipulates, displays, and supports navigation within information from its environment, such as on a computer network.

(2) A user agent is application software, such as a web crawler or web spider, which accesses information from its environment, such as on a computer network.

(2) A user agent is any software that retrieves and renders Web content for users. This may include Web browsers, media players, plug-ins, and other programs -- including assistive technologies -- that help in retrieving and rendering Web content. [See W3C User Agent Accessibility Guidelines Glossary]

(3) A user agent is a program, such as a browser, running on the device that acts on a user's behalf. [See W3C Composite Capability/Preference Profiles (CC/PP): Structure and Vocabularies]

(4) A user agent is software that retrieves and renders Web content. User agents include browsers, plug-ins for a particular media type, and some assistive technologies. [See W3C Authoring Tool Accessibility Guidelines]

(5) A user agent is software to access Web content, including desktop graphical browsers, text browsers, voice browsers, mobile phones, multimedia players, plug-ins, and some software assistive technologies used in conjunction with browsers such as screen readers, screen magnifiers, and voice recognition software. [See W3C Web Content Accessibility Guidelines]

(6) A user agent is a program whose purpose is to mediate interactions with services on behalf of the user under the user's preferences. A user may have more than one user agent, and agents need not reside on the user's desktop, but any agent must be controlled by and act on behalf of only the user. [See W3C Platform for Privacy Preferences (P3P)]

(7) A user agent is the client which initiates a request. These are often browsers, editors, spiders (web-traversing robots), or other end user tools. [See W3C Hypertext Transfer Protocol (HTTP)]

(8) A user agent is a client within a device that performs rendering. Browsers are examples of user agents, as are web robots that automatically traverse the web collecting information. [See W3C Glossary of Terms for Device Independence]

(9) A user agent acts on behalf of a user. Software agents include servers, proxies, spiders, browsers, and multimedia players. [See W3C Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One]

(10) A user agent is one type of Web agent; a piece of software acting on behalf of a person. [See W3C Architecture of the World Wide Web, Volume One]

(11) A user agent is any program that interprets a document written in the document language and applies associated style sheets according to the terms of this specification. A user agent may display a document, read it aloud, cause it to be printed, convert it to another format, etc. [See W3C Cascading Style Sheets, level 2 CSS2 Specification]

Synonym for web user agent.

Synonym for web browser.

See the Wikipedia article on "User agent".

Singular of user agents.

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Updated: December 24, 2005 05:35:13 PM -0500

Copyright 2005 John W. Krupansky d/b/a Base Technology