[whatwg] Proposal for local-storage file management

Brady Eidson beidson at apple.com
Fri Aug 28 10:51:04 PDT 2009

On Aug 28, 2009, at 10:19 AM, Jens Alfke wrote:

> There's some feature-creep going on in this thread. I think a  
> filesystem API is a good feature for the future, but the immediate  
> issue is with the pending local-storage API: how to balance  
> applications' legitimate needs for permanent local storage with  
> users' legitimate needs to manage disk usage and backups. I don't  
> think that's an issue we can put off until HTML6 or whenever.
> Yes, my suggestion does involve the filesystem, but not in a way  
> that's visible to the web-app. The app simply sees a persistent key- 
> value store as currently spec'ed; it has no idea where in the  
> filesystem the user has chosen to put it. Whereas the user just  
> decides on a parent folder (and maybe a quota), without having  
> access to the individual records inside.

This is a key point, we're getting way off topic.  Web apps accessing  
the "raw file system" is wrought with completely different (and much  
more difficult) concerns than we've been discussing, and is completely  
out of the scope of getting persistent LocalStorage working in an  
agreeable manner.

> The purpose is just for the user to have some control of whether to  
> give the app storage at all, and if so where to put it, and the  
> ability to manage that storage via the regular file manager UI. (Or  
> for platforms that don't have such a UI, like the iPhone, some kind  
> of flat list of web-apps.)

For this first foray into persistent storage for the web, I am -  
reluctantly - on board with the proposal of make a user explicit  
"save" like action part of the permanent LocalStorage experience.

I would *NOT* be on board with the spec requiring anything about  
"where the file goes on the filesystem."  I have never been convinced  
by the argument that users always need to be in charge of where in a  
filesystem directory tree every single file on their computer needs to  

I'm a huge fan of the "my mom" litmus test.  To my mom, the filesystem  
is scary and confusing.  But using the browser to manage browser- 
related things is familiar and learnable.

To take Jens's suggestion further, user agents on ANY platform should  
be allowed to turn the browser into a "shoebox app" that manages its  
own data.


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