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Why aren't most devices virtual web services?

From: Mark S. Miller <erights@google.com>
Date: Thu, 7 Jan 2010 18:47:30 -0800
Message-ID: <4d2fac901001071847k22a908b6yb4ab71fa37f19c33@mail.gmail.com>
To: public-device-apis@w3.org

I'm new to this working group. I recently joined because a number of people
had privately expressed alarm to me over the approaches to security being
taken in this WG. Several of them made the same suggestion, I think
independently. Of the others, they found this suggestion plausible, so I
thought I'd pass it on. For most devices, why not treat each device as a
virtual web service, exposing its API as a RESTful API in terms of GETs and
POSTs. This would reduce the present security problems to a previously
unsolved problem, of how one web site becomes authorized to use web services
provided by another site.

The case is clearest for contacts. Why should authorizing Facebook to access
my local contacts be different than, for example, authorizing Facebook to
access my gmail contacts? There are already several proposed solutions to
this problem, including the debate between CORS and UMP at the
public-webapps group. For current browsers, it is also the motivating
problem behind OAuth. I am *not* suggesting that we at
the public-device-apis WG attempt to pick a winner among these three.
Rather, that we should merely provide device APIs as RESTful GET/POST APIs,
so that we can make use of whatever comes to be the resolution of this
debate. The scheme of device URLs might be something other than http: or
https:, but they should still be accessible through XHR and its successors.

For some devices, an objection that has been raised: receiving and reacting
to notifications from RESTful web services is awkward. However, once again,
the problem is a problem with web services in general. It should be solved
for web services in general. Then, devices can again be made polymorphic
with web services providing similar functionality.

Let's please avoid introducing unnecessary cases into web standards. KISS.

Received on Friday, 8 January 2010 02:48:00 UTC

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