W3C home > Mailing lists > Public > whatwg@whatwg.org > November 2014

Re: [whatwg] New approach to activities/intents

From: Jonas Sicking <jonas@sicking.cc>
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 2014 02:17:25 -0800
Message-ID: <CA+c2ei_k8zF-Ocx0S435gyuKjMHjT7Nh_ZuvWuYjMcDs_3qU2g@mail.gmail.com>
To: Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl>
Cc: WHATWG <whatwg@whatwg.org>
Hi Anne,

Great to see that this is being worked on! And it's great to see that
it enables integration with built-in share functionality provided by
the UA. I also *really* like the idea of integrating with "save as"
and <input type=file>.

However there's a couple of use cases that seems good to address.

First off, I think we also need to enable websites to render a "share
button" inside the page. This is sometimes useful simply in order to
share a canonical URL for a piece of content, rather than the URL that
the user is currently looking at. For example in a "feed" page which
contains multiple articles it'd be good to enable sharing a specific

Second, it would be good to enable sharing more than just URLs. While
URLs are definitely a very common use case, being able to directly
share for example an image. For example to share an image with an
email application in order to add the image itself as an attachment.
This is also needed for the "save as" and <input type=file> use cases.

Another example of this is sharing a piece of text. I've seen websites
which allow selecting a piece of text and then click a twitter button
in order to tweet the selected text. Though I'm not sure how common
this is.

In order to support this we need not just a way to register handlers,
but also a more powerful API for those handlers to receive the shared
content. This is needed in order to enable the handler to receive a

A last use case which I think at this point is a bit more theoretical
is the ability to search the web for websites that can handle sharing.
This in order to enable UAs to build UI which allows the user to not
just choose from websites that the user has accepted registration
from, but also to search the web for other websites to share through.

This might be less useful for the simple case of sharing a generic URL
since there would be lots and lots of websites that could handle that,
and very little data to enable the UA to find the most relevant ones.

But if we expand this API to cover more than sharing (which I hope we
eventually will), or if we enable registering for handling sharing of
particular types (images vs. music vs. pdf vs. spreadsheets) then this
might be a more interesting use case.

/ Jonas

On Mon, Nov 3, 2014 at 8:42 AM, Anne van Kesteren <annevk@annevk.nl> wrote:
> A couple of us at Mozilla have been trying to figure out how to revive
> activities/intents for the web. Both work relatively well in closed
> environments such as Firefox OS and Android, but seem harder to deploy
> in a generic way on the web.
> What we've been looking at instead is solving a smaller use case. A
> Sharing API to start and then hopefully reuse the building blocks for
> other features that need to be liberated.
> https://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/Sharing/API has a sketch for what a very
> minimal Sharing API could look like.
> Our thinking is that something like the overlay browsing context could
> be reused to make e.g. <input type=file> or "save as" extensible going
> forward.
> However, admittedly it still doesn't really click. It feels a bit too
> much like e.g. the various search extensions browsers offer. Too much
> work for little return. Furthermore, freeing the web somehow from
> closely knitted silos seems like a worthwhile goal, but is often
> counter to what those silos are interested in. So it might be that
> we're still not quite there yet, thoughts appreciated.
> (I put WebApps and TAG on bcc, hope that's okay.)
> --
> https://annevankesteren.nl/
Received on Thursday, 13 November 2014 10:18:20 UTC

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