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Re: Drag & Drop Web Apps

From: Ian Hickson <ian@hixie.ch>
Date: Mon, 13 Aug 2012 23:26:05 +0000 (UTC)
To: Joran Greef <joran@ronomon.com>
cc: public-webapps@w3.org
Message-ID: <Pine.LNX.4.64.1208132316500.27616@ps20323.dreamhostps.com>
On Fri, 10 Aug 2012, Joran Greef wrote:
> Given the advance of HTML 5, and in the interest of developing web apps with average functionality, would it now be possible to:
> 1. Drag files and folders into a web app?

Files is specced and implemented.

Folders is implemented in Chrome experimentally, and there's a ton of 
feedback about it pending in the WHATWG feedback buckets, but I'm not 
aware of interest from other browser vendors so I've left it languishing 
for now. If it's something other vendors want, it could probably be added 
without too much trouble (especially if we just matched Chrome, so I don't 
have to come up with anything ;-) ).

> 2. Drag files and folders out of a web app?

Dragging files out is specced. Not sure about implementation status.

Dragging folders would be added as soon as we added dragging folders in 
(the API is ready for for it, I just need an interface to represent 
folders which I would plug into it).

> 3. Drag a spreadsheet out of a web app onto the icon of Excel in the 
> dock and have it open in Excel?

That's possible today, in theory, assuming you can describe the data in a 
form Excel supports.

> 4. Monitor that same spreadsheet's content (originally provided by the 
> web app) for changes when the user edits it and presses CTRL+S?

I'm not aware of any work on this front. It's something we could support 
if there's interest, but I expect most of the interest on this front will 
be superseded with something like Web Intents.

> Or is it only possible to drag things into a browser window but not back 
> out and nothing else?

The API is entirely symmetric, so both are possible.

> Can a user drag a piece of data into a browser window… and then drag it 
> back out?


> For example, a user may want to use a Contacts web app, and drag a 
> contact out the browser window as a piece of vcard data and land this 
> onto the Contacts app in the dock, which would then import the contact, 
> all in a single mouse gesture?

Assuming the Contacts app in the dock is a _Web_ app, I'm not sure we'd 
support dropping onto the icon itself. But in principle this is possible.

> Or is it not possible to provide that kind of user experience?

It should be possible.

> For example, a user may want to use a PDF web app, and transfer a piece 
> of PDF data to the Preview app, but be forced to click a link to 
> download the PDF, click the very small "Keep" button next to the "This 
> type of file can harm your computer. Do you want to keep anyway?" 
> warning, and then drag the PDF onto the Preview app, and then go to the 
> Downloads folder to delete the "download". At least 5 mouse clicks and 
> then a CMD+backspace to accomplish what (from the user's point of view 
> at least) should have only taken one drag and drop?

That sounds like an issue with the specific browser.

> And then this may be vendor specific, but if a user created a piece of 
> PDF data and dragged it into the browser window in the first place, does 
> it still make sense to warn them that "this type of file can harm your 
> computer"?

This is vendor-specific.

> The browser takes on too much responsibility for things it can't 
> possibly reason about, and seeks not enough advice from the user where 
> it could. It often seems that the browser is built to lecture the user, 
> rather than the other way round. I use the browser everyday at work, and 
> sometimes you have to ask yourself: who's serving who. Does the user 
> serve the browser, or does the browser serve the user?

The browser serves the user, but many of the users it serves are not as 
educated about security risks. (And many of those who incorrectly think 
they are educated are the most at risk.)

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'
Received on Monday, 13 August 2012 23:26:28 UTC

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