[whatwg] Web Storage: apparent contradiction in spec

Michael Nordman michaeln at google.com
Thu Aug 27 08:32:13 PDT 2009

And to confound the problem further, UAs dont have meta-data on hand with
which to relate various pieces of local data together and attribute them to
a specific user-identifiable 'application'. Everything is bound to a
security-origin, but that doesn't clearly identify or label an
On Thu, Aug 27, 2009 at 8:10 AM, Chris Taylor <Chris.Taylor at figureout.com>wrote:

> Adrian Sutton said:
> > On 27/08/2009 15:47, "Maciej Stachowiak" <mjs at apple.com> wrote:
> >>
> >> - Cached for convenience - discarding this will affect performance but
> not functionality.
> >> - Useful for offline use - discarding this will prevent some data from
> being accessed when offline.
> >> - Critical for offline use - discarding this will prevent the app
> storing this data from working offline at all.
> >> - Critical user data - discarding this will lead to permanent user data
> loss.
> >
> > The only catch being that if the web app decides this for itself, a
> malicious script or tracking cookie will be marked as critical user data
> when in fact the user would disagree.
> >
> > On the plus side, it would mean a browser could default to not allowing
> storage in the critical user data by default and then let users whitelist
> just the sites they want.  This could be through an evil dialog, or just a
> less intrusive indicator somewhere - the website itself would be able to
> detect that it couldn't save and warn the user in whatever way is most
> appropriate.
> This seems to me a better idea than having multiple storage areas
> (SessionStorage, CachedStorage and FileStorage as suggested by Brady).
> However this could lead to even more evil dialogs: "Do you want to save this
> data? Is it important? How important is it?" The user - and for that matter,
> the app or UA - doesn't necessarily know how critical a piece of data is.
> The user doesn't know because without some form of notification they won't
> know what the lifetime of that data is (and even if they do they will have
> to know how that lifetime impacts on app functionality). The UA doesn't know
> because it doesn't understand the nature of the data without the user
> telling it. The app doesn't necessarily know because it can't see the wider
> implications of saving the data - storage space on the machine etc. Catch
> 22.
> So, to what extent do people think that automatic decisions could be made
> by the UA and app regarding the criticality of a particular piece of data?
> The more the saving of data can be automated - with the right level of
> importance attached to it - the better, saving obtrusive and potentially
> confusing dialogs, and (hopefully) saving the right data in the right way.
> Perhaps UAs could notify apps of the storage space available and user
> preferences on the saving of data up front, helping the app and UA to make
> reasonable decisions, only asking for user confirmation where an reasonable
> automatic decision can't be made.
> It's a head-twister, this one.
> Chris
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