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Re: Transferring File* to WebApps - redux

From: Arun Ranganathan <arun@mozilla.com>
Date: Wed, 16 Jun 2010 11:47:55 -0700
Message-ID: <4C191C5B.4020909@mozilla.com>
To: David Rogers <david.rogers@omtp.org>
CC: "SULLIVAN, BRYAN L (ATTCINW)" <BS3131@att.com>, Robin Berjon <robin@berjon.com>, public-device-apis@w3.org, Ian Fette <ifette@google.com>, Web Applications Working Group WG <public-webapps@w3.org>
Hi David,

Thanks for your questions.

On 6/16/10 2:16 AM, David Rogers wrote:
>> The question of where you are represented and your ability to
>> participate cuts both ways - the same is true for us. I think if the
>> browser vendors want their products really to be seen as compatible
> with
>> the Web application space (as compared to just dynamic Web pages),
> they
>> will support the work in DAP as its there that non-obtrusive and
>> inherently secure models for Web application access to device
> resources
>> will be defined as APIs.
> At present time, I think that the paragraph above accurately summarizes
> a technical rift between certain members of both working groups (DAP and
> WebApps).  It may not be worthwhile to resolve this rift, and we should
> allow disparate families of specifications to bloom, taking care not to
> cause developer confusion with naming (a hard problem).  Where
> specifications worked on in the DAP WG lend themselves to implementation
> plans, I think Mozilla participants interested in these can comment on
> them (e.g. Contacts API, at least for now).
> [DAVID] I don't think it is worth creating a schism. The file API hadn't
> been touched since 2006 when we started looking at this work so it is
> good that we have managed to help motivate some further work on it. A
> number of browser vendors are involved in DAP and are starting to build
> DAP APIs so I think this might be an incorrect assumption too. We're all
> in this together, so let's try and get it right for the user.
> The key question remains around security model. OMTP members believe in
> separating policy for good security reasons and to advance the general
> discipline away from the natural answer which would be 'provide a prompt
> or explicit user interaction'. If we slip back into this old way of
> thinking, we are destined for failure. Yes, at some point you need user
> interaction but let's try to minimise that in an intelligent manner
> which means that the user is not bombarded with prompts, making the
> system less secure. So, some questions from me:
> 1) I want to make sure that we can continue the good privacy work that
> has been started in DAP - please can you clarify if you would propose
> adopting those requirements if transferred to WebApps?

I think you are referring to: 
http://dev.w3.org/2009/dap/docs/privacy-license.html .  Is that correct?

If so, that's a document that seems like a really good start.  There's 
an upcoming workshop on this subject for which Aza Raskin has submitted 
a paper which also posits a "license" style model, but couples it with 
easy user-readable icons.  I don't mind where general privacy guidelines 
live.  I think what's wise is to allow for maximum browser vendor 
review, but additional charter items on WebApps is hard.  I think we can 
review sensible privacy guidelines wherever they live; they don't have 
to be transferred, but widespread review is desirable.

It might be useful to decouple privacy from a secure model for APIs.

> 2) Also, please can you outline the security model that you will propose
> if it does transfer to WebApps - would it allow for management of access
> to the file system by policy (in the BONDI manner or by Google Powerbox
> or Mozilla's separate policy scheme)?

Are you talking about the email Robin sent about transferring FileWriter 
and FileSystem over to WebApps?  If so, the security model (which needs 
more work and shouldn't be considered final by any means) probably 
shouldn't be based on policy schemes like BONDI's policy language.  I'm 
not sure yet what to make of PowerBox, but I'm personally not 
considering it in this regard.  There isn't a separate Mozilla policy 
scheme, but the same-origin scheme for scripts and the separation of 
chrome content and web content is applicable here.

> 3) Would your proposed API require prompts to the user and explicit user
> acceptance of some sort?

*Which* proposed API?  The File API (covering FileReader) already uses 
the existing selection mechanism via input elements, and is shipping in 
Firefox 3.6.3.  This does have explicit user acceptance, but this model 
has already been around in the web for interacting with file systems.  
We should secure this model further in lieu of proposing a new one.  So, 
earlier proposals for spawning a script-only FileDialog were abandoned.

-- A*
Received on Wednesday, 16 June 2010 18:48:34 UTC

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