File APIs

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The W3C is working on file i/o apis for reading, writing and uploading files. This feature is necessary for installable applications that use the Web runtime (i.e., HTML+JS+...) to read and write files the same way that C++ and Java can, which is particularly important for mobile applications (e.g., iPhone AppStore apps). For browser-based web applications, this feature will improve desktop integration and will allow certain classes of web applications (e.g., office applications) to read/write data that is stored locally, which is often necessary in order to make web applications operate in an offline/disconnected manner.

The spec is at:

Ajaxian article:

Features include:

  • Multi-file selection from <input type="file">
  • Ability to access range of bytes within a binary/blog object
  • File metadata, such as name, mediatype, and url
  • File reader interface

This feature has obvious security implications. The latest working draft at the W3C mentions some of them:

For mobile devices, these File APIs are part of the larger set of Device APIs that allow the mobile browser engine to become a full-featured, portable, standards-based mobile application development platform for both mobile web applications and mobile installed applications.

So far, there is no evidence from the desktop browser vendors having implemented these APIs, although Arun Ranganathan of Mozilla Corporation is the spec editor.

Comments on this feature request

IBM feedback: important feature for future

One of IBM's product teams says this would be important to have in the long-term, but are not critical right away.

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