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Re: Content of URL picked by Intent

From: Brett van Zuiden <brettcvz@filepicker.io>
Date: Thu, 20 Sep 2012 14:34:44 -0400
Message-ID: <CAJqO3z1aNZpkH13oXcrgkoOV0C4GnwBBnZYfyPr1NRsR1bh6yw@mail.gmail.com>
To: Greg Billock <gbillock@google.com>
Cc: Tobie Langel <tobie@fb.com>, Jungkee Song <jungkee.song@samsung.com>, Norifumi Kikkawa <Norifumi.Kikkawa@jp.sony.com>, Paul Kinlan <paulkinlan@google.com>, WebIntents <public-web-intents@w3.org>, "public-device-apis@w3.org" <public-device-apis@w3.org>, "Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com" <Frederick.Hirsch@nokia.com>
Hi there - I'm typically just an observer here, but felt like this was an
area where we can share a lot of what we have learned.

I'm one of the founders of Filepicker.io, and our first product has strong
parallels to web intents. We've had thousands of developers use our product
over the last handful of months, so have some real-life experience in
interacting with developers around the api.

Our initial approach was to treat multiple as a flag to the getFile call
(our equivalent of the "pick" intent). If multiple wasn't set, we would
return the url and data as an object, if it was we would return an array.
I'm convinced this is the wrong way to do multiple, and that the right way
is to have an explicit pickMultiple call.

Rationale:
* a {"multiple": true} flag has poor discoverability. I'm fairly happy with
our documentation, but we still get on average one question a week from
people asking if they can/how to select multiple files
* The use cases for selecting multiple files are fairly distinct from those
asking for single files. We initially thought the flag would help people
switch between the two - in practice, this rarely happens.
* We've found that the user interface for selecting multiple files should
be reasonably distinct from selecting a single file. For instance, the
presence of a "shelf" where selected files are queued before being submitted
* Making single-file pick an array creates a significant boiler-plate issue
where every implementation needs the same blob of code. It also raises
questions about edge cases: what happens if the user closes without
selecting any file? Can an empty array ever be returned for a single-file
pick? Will the length of the array always be identically 1?

Happy to provide more insights into what we've learned from our customers.
We've recently spec'd out the next version of our API and so have
aggregated quite a bit of experience into that document.

- Brett van Zuiden
Founder | Filepicker.io


On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 1:56 PM, Greg Billock <gbillock@google.com> wrote:

> On Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 10:43 AM, Tobie Langel <tobie@fb.com> wrote:
> > On 9/20/12 7:27 PM, "Greg Billock" <gbillock@google.com> wrote:
> >
> >>The discomfort I'm estimating as the most acute
> >>is client developers wanting to get started. I'd like them to have as
> >>few problems as possible using the API, and so I'd like to make their
> >>path as clear as possible.
> >
> > That's actually easily mitigated by providing example code developers can
> > copy. It also an issue during a relatively short period of time and is
> > relevant to that particular API only. It's also very possible that the
> > developers will be familiar with the pattern having seen it elsewhere.
> >
> > However, inconsistencies in the platform hurt the productivity of
> > beginner, intermediate and seasoned developers alike. Not only does it
> > hurt developers when they are using that particular API, but it also
> hurts
> > them **every time they will use any other API where consistency with that
> > particular API would have been expected.** In other words, coming up a
> > custom solution here diminishes the quality of the platform as a whole.
>
> I completely agree, and that's a major source of discomfort I'd dearly
> like to avoid. :-) If we can document around early pitfalls and give
> developers touching a lot of the platform a consistent experience,
> that's definitely where the balance of intuition ends up lying. I
> definitely think using arrays for multiple MIME values is the way to
> go, and accords well with the rest of the platform. The question is
> how to best indicate that. Always using them is a good approach that
> will work fine.
>
>
Received on Friday, 21 September 2012 16:09:00 GMT

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