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[whatwg] HTML vs Plain Text in Notifications

From: Dmitry Titov <dimich@google.com>
Date: Wed, 10 Sep 2008 19:26:09 -0700
Message-ID: <28040fc60809101926y92316a6id5319c467e146fc8@mail.gmail.com>
Hi,
I'd like to comment on Notifications part of the spec:
http://www.whatwg.org/specs/web-apps/current-work/#notifications
In short, I think those notifications should be more like a "balloon popups"
or "toasts" with content rendered by the user agent in HTML form. Currently,
they are spec'ed as 3 strings + icon and rendered in the way "system
notifications" are rendered on a particular system.

So instead of:
  <script>
   function callback() { ... }
   ...
   window.showNotification("You've got mail!",
                                       "From: Santa Claus",
                                       "What's in your wishlist?",
                                       "http://.../icon.png",
                                       callback);
   ...
   </script>

it would be closer to:
  <script>
   ...
   balloon_window = window.open("http://.../mail_notification?id=....",
"_notification");
   ...
   </script>

As a team that worked on Google Talk Labs Edition which is a "web app in a
desktop frame", we've implemented balloon notifications for Google Calendar,
GMail and Talk chat - example of their look is here:
http://www.google.com/talk/labsedition . They are rendered as HTML+JS. Doing
UX iterations on those convinced us that simple text notifications do not
solve majority of use cases.

The text-based box has following problems:
- Not enough formatting capabilities even for simple cases (calendar
appointment and mail notification).
- No mechanism to update content (as in "upload progress indicator"
scenario)
- No way to add interactive features (snooze on calendar appointment)

Granted, HTML in notifications means more work to carefully design
security/opt-in/opt-out mechanisms, but perhaps no much more so than popups
already do.

What do you think?
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