access to local path data in input file-- or alternative way for users to access local imagery from web applications

I recall Chris Wilson mentioning, within the past month, that he had not yet subscribed to the whatwg email list. 
I would not blame him, since I have not been able to figure out how to unsubscribe from that particular list, tempted though I have been, for a year and half now.
But I have figured out utility cases (as distinct from use cases) for that does not proffer. For example, there seem to be ways to float ideas in front of a less formal audience there, before one is tempted to raise them (in what seems like) more formally here in W3C (where the rules of engagement seem to have more codicils than King Tut had appendices) . If I have a really bad idea, the whatwgers will usually persuade me with minimal risk of massive public embarrassment!
However, [apologies in advance] the whatwg folks of late entertained an idea I put forth with less than thorough rejection. How to put this accurately...? The idea was indeed rejected near as I could tell. Who knows what the editor may ultimately decide? It was dismissed and bound into a tiny but unconvincingly compact microthread. If one had the opportunity to review the microthread from some objective vantage point of the future perhaps it would be meaningful. Or, perhaps it would be relegated to the status of minor neural abstrusion.
At any rate, I was left with the sense that the idea still had a life, and I vowed to bring it up again. That should bring the history, such as it is (see [1], [2], [3] and related threads), up to date.
Suppose I wish to make an image-processing web app. Let's say it is a jigsaw puzzle game; let's say it is a jigsaw puzzle generation application; let's say it is a loom that weaves 2 or more two dimensional bitmaps together with a simple projective geometry. Or suppose I wish to allow my web visitors to visit my site and there to engage in image morphing (creating small animations that deform the contours and opacity of one image into another over time) or I wish to allow user-defined warpings of one use-selected image. Or, using <canvas> , suppose I wish to do image analysis such as alluded to in the discussion of brower-assisted-intelligent alt-attribute-generation. Perhaps I should do this to remain compliant with accessibility legislation.
Well, the solutions suggested seemed to be of three categories
a) allow <input type=file> to open a dialogue in which javascript has access to local path data and can thence display the user-selected file within the web page 
b) force the developer to require the user to upload the file to a server-side script that receives the image, stores it, and then updates the web page (via, for example ajax) to display the user-selected image
c) use DOMFile or getAsDataURL()
discussion of above solutions:
a) this method currently works in IE -- it used to work in Netscape 4, but I am told that all the "modern" browsers have decided to break this, apparently for security reasons. -- see for example  
b) this approach (kludge?)  is not at all, it seems, friendly to user privacy concerns, and even if we ignore user privacy, there is the copyright issue: do we really wish to force folks to upload their images to central servers to be able to process them? 
c) neither of these methods seems to be standard in any browser I can find, though I am willing to add new browsers to my desktop so long as they are properly respectful and do what I wish. Does the HTML 5 draft address the issue?
David [reiterating apologies]

Received on Wednesday, 14 May 2008 03:46:25 UTC