[html5] XHR Questions

Gomer Thomas gomer at gomert-consulting.com
Thu Mar 17 13:15:35 PDT 2016

       Hi Domenic,
       By the way, the question is not why support for chunked responses to
HTTP requests was not added in the first place for blobs. That capability
was included in the August 2009 specification of XMLHttpRequest(). Thus, the
question is why was it taken out later?
       Regards, Gomer
       Gomer Thomas Consulting, LLC
       9810 132nd St NE
       Arlington, WA 98223
       Cell: 425-309-9933
       -----Original Message-----
From: Domenic Denicola [mailto:d at domenic.me] 
Sent: Thursday, March 17, 2016 11:22 AM
To: Gomer Thomas <gomer at gomert-consulting.com>; help at lists.whatwg.org
Cc: Anne van Kesteren <annevk at annevk.nl>
Subject: RE: [html5] XHR Questions
       From: Help [mailto:help-bounces at lists.whatwg.org] On Behalf Of Gomer
       > I have several questions about the XMLHttpRequest specification.
       > (1) As far as I can tell, if the response is of type "text", then a
partial response can be accessed during the transmission of the response.
However, if the response is of any other type, then the response cannot be
accessed until the transmission is finished. Why is that so? I have an
application for which it is important to access partial responses while the
transmission is in progress for a "blob" response (actually an ISO BMFF
       I am not sure why this was never added in the first place for blobs,
where it was for text. (Maybe Anne, CC'ed, can clarify.)
       However, we're trying to solve this going forward with a combination
of the Fetch and Streams APIs:
       - http://fetch.spec.whatwg.org/
       - https://streams.spec.whatwg.org/
       You can see an example at https://fetch.spec.whatwg.org/#fetch-api.
However, note that this integration is currently only implemented in Chrome.
(Other browsers implement fetch, but not yet the Response object's body
       A big advantage of Fetch + Streams over XHR's text mode is that even
though XHR's text allows you to access the body incrementally, it still
retains the entire response body in memory. Thus, for a 1 GiB response, your
memory usage will slowly grow from 0 to 1 GiB. Fetch + streams allows you to
consume chunks as they arrive, so that at any given time you only hold a
chunk's worth of bytes (usually between a few KiB and a few MiB, depending
on network conditions) in memory.
       > (2) The specification talks about the "response's body's
transmitted" and the "response's body's length". What do these mean? I
cannot find any definition of them in the standard. Is the "response's
body's transmitted" the number of bytes that have been transmitted so far?
Is the "response's body's length" the total length of the response in bytes?
It would be good to define these terms in the specifications. 
       If you look at those terms, they are links. They go to these
       - https://fetch.spec.whatwg.org/#concept-body-transmitted
       - https://fetch.spec.whatwg.org/#concept-body-length
       > (3) After reading the relevant part of the specification three
times, I am still confused about what causes an "onprogress" event to be
fired. In particular is a "progress" event named "progress" fired at regular
intervals during transmission of a response, or whenever additional bytes
arrive for a response, or what? I would find the first of these useful if my
app was tracking the progress of a response for display to a human user. I
would find the second of these useful if I was able to access partial
responses and wanted to know when there is something new to access.  
       The answer is essentially "both". When bytes come in, the UA checks
if at least 50 ms have passed since the last progress event. If so, it will
fire. So, if no bytes come in, there will be no progress event; if they come
in more often than every 50 ms, not every occurrence will fire a progress
       You can again get more fine-grained control over these things with
Fetch + Streams. They operate on a "pull" model instead of a "push" model,
so you call read() to get each chunk; the promise will only fulfill when new
bytes have been read. You can then use this to track the progress for users.
       Hope this helps! 

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