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Re: <device> proposal (for video conferencing, etc)

From: Kenton Varda <kenton@google.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Dec 2009 20:29:46 -0800
Message-ID: <4112ecad0912162029l3019c209s23fee8ec1c698318@mail.gmail.com>
To: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Cc: public-device-apis@w3.org
Thanks for putting this together!  As written, it seems to suit my needs.

However, I notice you have a note suggesting limiting the scope of the tag
to audio/video streams.  I think such a limitation would be pretty
disappointing.  There are an infinite number of ways that this mechanism
could be useful for things other than audio/video.  A couple random
examples:
- You hint at the idea of exposing a USB media player's file system, which
is a great example:  this would allow someone to write something like iTunes
purely as a web app, complete with the ability to populate the user's media
player.
- Lots of sites ask users for gmail login credentials in order to access
their contact list.  It would be better if the capability to access the
contact list could be treated as a "device", and I could give a site access
to my gmail contact list simply by hooking it up like any other device.

Therefore I really hope that the ability to deal with "devices" other than
media streams stays in this proposal.  Furthermore, as I said elsewhere, I
think the spec should potentially allow developers to expose arbitrary APIs
via this interface, not just things that the standards committee has thought
of.  This would suggest that we need a more-formal namespace for the
<device> tag's "type" attribute -- you would need to be able to name
arbitrary interfaces defined by arbitrary vendors.

On another note, if web sites are to be able to export "virtual devices"
(like the contact list), then I suppose we'll need to have another tag for
that, or maybe another mode for the "device" tag.

A couple trivial nitpicks, neither of which is terribly important to me:
- I think the name "data" for the device object is a little misleading,
since it's actually a stateful object, not just raw data.
- The tag name <device> could itself be confusing when this is used for
non-device objects, as I would like to.  For example, a contact list
capability is not really a "device".

On Tue, Dec 15, 2009 at 4:43 PM, Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch> wrote:

>
> Based on the earlier discussion:
>
>   http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-device-apis/2009Dec/0194.html
>
> http://lists.w3.org/Archives/Public/public-device-apis/2009Dec/thread.html#msg149
>
> ...I wrote a draft prototype showing how this could look (these three URLs
> all have the same text, but the first one has more up to date changes when
> I'm actively editing it):
>
>   http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#devices
>
> http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/multipage/commands.html#devices
>   http://dev.w3.org/html5/html-device/
>
> It seems, though, that until we can figure out a codec that all the UAs
> are willing to implement, there's not much we can do to proceed on this,
> so I'm not sure where to go from here.
>
> --
> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
> http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
> Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
>
>
Received on Thursday, 17 December 2009 04:30:44 GMT

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