[whatwg] HTML extension for system idle detection.

Max Romantschuk max at romantschuk.fi
Mon Aug 31 02:49:21 PDT 2009

> On Aug 29, 2009, at 00:47, David Bennett wrote:
>> There currently is no way to detect the system idle state in the 
>> browser.

Henri Sivonen wrote:
> How could such a notification be abused? The first abuse use case I can 
> think of is throttling Web Workers-based botnet computation to be less 
> detectable by the user (i.e. taking over the user's compute resources 
> while the user isn't experiencing the slowdown).

True, but this could probably be implemented to a largely equivalent 
degree using the techniques currently employed by sites in lieu of a 
dedicated API to know when the user is  idle.

I agree that an event model would be a good idea. Having a 
straightforward way to disable wasteful bandwidth usage when the user 
becomes idle is a good thing.

Still, being able to check the idle state without events could be useful 
for some code, say a periodical executer that checks the idle state 
prior to doing it's work. If events are the only interface a developer 
would have to implement their own state keeping.

One issue:

Is the user idle when the tab is in the background, when the browser is 
in the background, or when the user is away from the machine? These are 
all distinct cases of different levels of "idleness", and it's largely 
depended on the use case which kind of "idleness" makes sense for a 
particular application.


        Max Romantschuk
        max at romantschuk.fi

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