[whatwg] Show upload progress

Matthew Paul Thomas mpt at myrealbox.com
Sat May 6 06:13:44 PDT 2006

On May 6, 2006, at 7:41 PM, Joaquin Cuenca Abela wrote:
> Matthew wrote:
>> A much easier and more consistent approach would be for the browser 
>> to show the upload progress itself. Complain to your friendly local
>> browser vendor.
> Unfortunately such a simple approach is not good enough in this case.
> The progress bar in a browser is "optimized" for small - medium file 
> uploads: no estimated time left, quite small, on a blind corner, 
> assumes the size of the downloaded page is somewhat in the range of 
> the size of the file uploaded, so it's estimation of % done is wildly 
> pessimist.

I have yet to see a browser that shows determinate upload progress at 
all. (Internet Explorer, Firefox, Safari, Opera, and iCab all don't.) 
But it should be easier to implement than showing determinate download 
progress, because with uploading the browser knows ahead of time 
exactly how much data is involved. That's why I'm suggesting you lobby 
browser vendors to implement it: not because they already do, but 
because they don't.

(You may be under the impression that Internet Explorer for Windows 
shows determinate upload progress. But its progress meter actually 
advances 1 pixel/second starting from the beginning of the request, 
regardless of the progress of any upload. So if it has taken longer 
than 90 seconds, the progress meter reaches 100% and gets stuck there.)

> ...
> 1) the file the user is going to upload is expected to be > 0.5M
> 2) once uploaded, the html with the response is extremelly small 
> compared to the file(s) uploaded
> In that use-case you want a bigger progress bar, on a very visible 
> spot on the page, and giving the user a clue of the time remaining.

Sure. But again, it would be much easier and more consistent if the 
browser showed a bigger progress bar, overlayed on the page, with an 
estimate of time remaining, for *all* uploads likely to take more than 
about 5 seconds -- rather than some Web sites doing it and most not.

> ...
> Oh, and to add another item to the previous list:
> * There is only one progress bar in the browser.
> The thing is you may have the main upload going targetting a frame, 
> and have some xmlhttprequest / iframe downloads going on the 
> background. It will drive crazy the browser progress bar. Only the 
> page author knows what's the most probable big, blocking 
> upload/download in the page.
> ...

I don't think that's true. Browsers (other than Opera) already handle 
the problem of presenting progress of multiple items in a single 
progress bar when downloading a page. They could do an even better job 
for uploads, since they know the size of the items involved beforehand. 
And good results probably would be achieved from ignoring XmlHttp 
traffic for progress bar purposes whenever displaying any non-XmlHttp 

Matthew Paul Thomas

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