[whatwg] Proposal for local-storage file management

Jens Alfke snej at google.com
Fri Aug 28 11:12:58 PDT 2009

On Aug 28, 2009, at 10:51 AM, Brady Eidson wrote:

> 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 go.

I wouldn't want the spec to require that either. At that high level, I  
think it should just state that:
• Local storage may contain important user data and should only be  
deleted by direct action of the user.
• The user must be allowed to decide whether code from a particular  
security domain is allowed to store persistent data locally.
• The user must be able to see how much disk space each domain is  
using, and delete individual apps' storage.

The first item (which is basically already in the spec) allows web- 
apps to store user-created content safely.
The second item helps prevent abuse.
The third item helps the user stay in control of her disk (and  
provides the 'direct action of the user' mentioned in item 1.)

My suggestion involving the Save As dialog is just to show a feasible  
way to implement those requirements on a desktop OS in a way that  
makes it fairly clear to the user what's going on.

> 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.

What I like about using the regular Save As dialog box is that almost  
every user has some experience with it, and knows that it means this  
app wants to put files on my disk. Naive users tend to just hit Enter  
and let everything be saved to a default location, which is fine. (In  
OS X, the default collapsed state of the Save panel supports that.)  
Users who are savvy with the filesystem know how to navigate to a  
different directory if they want, or at least look at where the file's  
going to be saved by default.

It also doesn't look like the type of security-nag dialog that people  
instinctively OK without reading.

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