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Re: Overlap between WebApps and Device APIs WG on file operations

From: Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>
Date: Wed, 13 May 2009 17:54:16 +0200
Cc: public-device-apis <public-device-apis@w3.org>, arun@mozilla.com, Charles McCathieNevile <chaals@opera.com>
Message-Id: <A5EE574D-B0AA-4C51-92B6-2E1565E7EFAB@berjon.com>
To: Dominique Hazael-Massieux <dom@w3.org>
Hi Dom,

On May 13, 2009, at 16:39 , Dominique Hazael-Massieux wrote:
> The WebApps Working Group current charter [2] has "File Upload, an API
> to extend the existing file upload capabilities of User Agents (may
> include more generic file I/O operations)", with a first draft  
> available
> at:
> http://www.w3.org/TR/file-upload/
> and I understand that Opera contribute a more complete API to the  
> group
> at:
> http://dev.w3.org/2006/webapi/fileio/fileIO.htm
>
> Robin, as editor of the file-upload spec, can you see a difference
> between that work and the proposed work item in the device api  
> charter?

Whoa! I relinquished editorship of that document in 2006 :) It just so  
happens that no publication has happened since. The new editor is Arun  
(Cc'ed; and I've also Cc'ed Chaals since I don't know if he's here).

The purposes of the two specifications are different, but there is  
some overlap. The purpose of the File Upload specification is to  
trigger a file picker (device independently), allow for the selection  
of multiple files, and allow scripts to intercept what has been  
selected  but not to do anything other than access the data.

The File System API intends to allow script to manipulate the FS  
directly: create and delete files, write to them, perhaps mount  
volumes (arguably in v2). It doesn't (as currently thought of) include  
the possibility of prompting the user through a file picker.

So the purposes of the two specifications are somewhat orthogonal, but  
they do overlap. It would be ideal if, for instance, a widget could  
use the File Upload API to ask the user to pick a file, and could then  
manipulate that file in all the ways allowed by the FS API.

I would recommend the following bit of turf engineering: have the FS  
API define all the common bits, notably the File interface. The File  
Upload may be renamed File Picker (or whatever), which would better  
match its original purpose, and would reference FS to define which  
subset of that functionality is available in a web security context.

Would that make sense? I'm open to all manners of other cuts, but that  
seems like one that's simple and matches the intent of the respective  
charters.

> If anyone from Opera can also comment on the fileIO spec, this would  
> be
> more than welcome.

I think that a lot of Opera's FileIO spec was adopted (and in part  
modified) in the OMTP Bondi File API. I would expect the latter to be  
submitted to this WG for consideration  so it's all going full circle.

> I guess we need to determine if the new group either:
> * needs to develop an API that completes the work done in WebApps
> (seems unlikely)
> * would take over the work started in WebApps
> * should NOT work on filesystem operations due to overlap with  
> WebApps.

I think it's not "completes" so much as "complements" that we want. We  
could also take over but I think that would lose the use cases that  
WebApps is working on; and conversely if we dropped it for WebApps to  
work on.

-- 
Robin Berjon - http://berjon.com/
     Feel like hiring me? Go to http://robineko.com/
Received on Wednesday, 13 May 2009 15:54:56 GMT

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