Take the 2-minute tour ×
Webmasters Stack Exchange is a question and answer site for pro webmasters. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Is the meta tag "generator" still relevant in today's web? Has it every had any use?

<meta name="Generator" content="Drupal 7 (http://drupal.org)" />
share|improve this question
    
Often the first thing a developer would do, after their HTML editor of choice had added the "Generator" meta tag, was to remove it. –  w3d Jun 11 '12 at 21:54
add comment

3 Answers

up vote 5 down vote accepted

The question is "What value does it add to my website?"

In the world of trucking, we have a term, payload. Payload brings in a return for carrying it, the rest is non-paying and therefore a fuel expense. Excess meta tags that aren't being used by anyone just add to the load time, eat clock cycles, disk space and transmission packets.

Meta tags are only useful if searching, indexing or special use consumers use them. Titles, if your content is being absorbed by indexing systems that use it, Dublin Core, various geolocation tags, description and other metas used by social networking.

It's probably more useful to work with microformat/rich snippet type markup.

As to the "Generator" meta tag, it only ever was an advertisement for Adobe, et. al. to say, "Hey, lookie, my software was used to create the page!" Someone else might chime in with an actual example of relevance, but I haven't seen anything that made me not strip it as useless content.

share|improve this answer
1  
The only added value that I've discovered so far is to gather statistics on generator usage. –  Bart Jun 11 '12 at 15:18
    
If you're gathering statistical analysis on that, it would be useful. As a site admin, I'm more interested in the User Agents so I know what browsers to support and test with. –  Fiasco Labs Jun 11 '12 at 15:22
add comment

As far as "use" that's obvious: to identify what was used to produce the current document. Of course it's trivial to provide bad information in there.

It was never especially relevant in the first place.
Other than as a curiosity for nosy users viewing source code, the only significant applications of the tag I've ever seen tended toward scraping a bunch of sites and saying X of them were built with Drupal, et al. which has the significant flaw of not counting sites that just leave the tag off(or lie).

Also note a lot of common meta tags are simply convention; the HTML 4 spec didn't bother defining acceptable values for the meta name attribute. Since it's actually been codified in the HTML5 spec, (HTML 4 didn't bother) some real practical purpose may eventually come about.

If the ultimate question is whether you should include the tag, it's your choice. There won't be any noticeable benefit, and it's arguably a (very minor) security leak, given that it provides information that could be used to determine vulnerabilities.

share|improve this answer
add comment

It could be a significant security risk. I remove it if it shows up on any sites I do.

If the generator is one with an identified security flaw, it's like a big lighted sign, saying "use Drupal exploit HERE!"

You might think what you have there is secure… today. If I were one to write exploits, I'd be spidering and indexing on this tag, then as soon as a new exploit is discovered, I'd target my exploits to sites known to be vulnerable.

share|improve this answer
add comment

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.