[whatwg] Installed Apps

Michael Kozakewich mkozakewich at icosidodecahedron.com
Mon Aug 10 11:56:35 PDT 2009

From: John Gregg 
Sent: Monday, August 10, 2009 12:54 PM

  I think it's appeared on this thread before, but I'm currently working on an API to provide desktop notifications.  A patch has been proposed to WebKit at https://bugs.webkit.org/show_bug.cgi?id=25463.

  I had originally proposed it to this list back in March under the context of persistent workers, which had the same motivation that you describe: background process while the application tab is closed.  Now I think it makes more sense to make this API available generically (pages included, as the above WebKit patch does) subject to permissions, so that it will be available to applications regardless of where they end up running.  

  Desktop notifications are pretty useful even when the tab is active but minimized, so it doesn't necessarily need to be wrapped up in a persistent installation process, as long as permission can be established.


Are notifications really a renderer problem, as opposed to a browser-UI problem? (e.g. 'Safari' or 'Chromium', rather than 'Webkit')
Also, I don't know of any notifications (Outlook, Messenger, AVG, TweetDeck, etc.) that require permissions, so I'd argue that requiring permissions for notification would be arguably confusing. It doesn't interrupt flow like alert() does.

Just in case I need to be set straight, here, I've got a couple questions: If vendors implemented this, they would have to work on their browsers, right? Is it easier for them to work on the rendering engine or on the application, or is there no difference? Do they prefer to add functionality to their rendering engine or to their application, or do they not care? (For these, I'm working from the assumption that it doesn't noticeably affect the UI, such as a new button or bar would.)
And last: do they try not to touch the browsers, or do they prefer to delegate upgrades based on where they would be most suitable?

I think answering those questions would help me the most, because at this point I don't know why they'd alter the renderer or JS engine to handle popup JavaScript instead of altering the browser to support what seems like a simple UI addition of pop-ups, but I do feel as though they wouldn't like to change the browser process.
(As a final point, it's been mentioned that such a feature would become very popular, so many sites would implement it. It begs the question of which option is best for handling the volume of notifications and potentially abused notifications.)
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