[whatwg] Web Storage: apparent contradiction in spec

Peter Kasting pkasting at google.com
Wed Aug 26 17:26:11 PDT 2009

On Wed, Aug 26, 2009 at 4:55 PM, Michael Nordman <michaeln at google.com>wrote:

> What seems inevitable are vista-like prompts to allow something (or prods
> to delete something) seemingly unrelated to a user's interaction with a
> site... please, oh please, lets avoid making that part of the web platform.

I hate prompts as much as you.

Flash uses a model where a site can silently store small amounts of data
with no prompts.  Because devices have wildly different storage amounts, one
could imagine a UA on a desktop machine allowing a site to store, say, 2 MB
without prompting, while on a phone the site might only get 20 KB, or maybe
none at all.  This would mean users would be prompted sooner or more often
on a phone, which seems like a reasonable outcome to me given that a phone
may have so little storage that serious use of Local Storage may be
difficult to impossible anyway.

In this world, the hard quotas I suggested become "soft quotas" which result
in some kind of user elevation.  A UA could elect not to elevate and just
deny the additional space if its authors felt that prompts were evil :)

I'm assuming that UA will have out-of-band mechanisms to 'bless' certain
> sites which should not be subject to automated eviction. If push comes to
> shove, the system could suggest cleaning up one of these 'blessed' sites if
> inactivity for an extended period was noticed. But for the overwhelming
> number of sites in a users browsing history, its a different matter.
> If the storage APIs are just available for use, no questions asked....
> making the storage just go away, no questions asked, is symmetrical.
> Blessing involves asking questions... making it go away does too.

If we suggest that the user be prompted before anything be written
"persistently", there are a couple bad outcomes (note that these are
problems with Gears today):
* The user is asked to make a choice _before_ using the app's functionality,
at which point he is ill-prepared to decide how much he likes the app or
what it should be able to do
* The app author is less-likely to bother to use Local Storage since prompts
drive users away, and just uses Flash

I think the overall UX from requiring "blessing" on all persistent data (as
opposed to on "large" data sets) is poorer.

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