[whatwg] File package protocol and manifest support?
brettz9 at yahoo.com
Mon May 18 03:41:54 PDT 2009
While this may be too far in the game to bring up, I'd very much be
interested (and think others would be too) to have a standard means of
representing not only individual files, but also groups of files on the web.
One application of this would be for a web user to be able to do the
following (taking advantage of both offline applications and related
somewhat to custom protocols):
1) Click a link in a particular protocol containing a list of files or
leading to a manifest file which contains a list of files. Very
importantly, the files would NOT need to be from the same site.
2) If the files have not been downloaded already, the browser accesses
the files (possibly first decompressing them) to store for offline use.
3) If the files were XML/XHTML, take advantage of any attached XSL,
XQuery, or CSS in reassembling them.
4) If the files were SQL, reassemble them in a table-agnostic
manner--e.g., allow the user to choose which columns to view and in
which order and how many records at a time (including allowing a
single-record "flashcard"-like view), also allowing for automated
5) If the files included templates, use these for the display and
populate for the user to view.
6) Bring the user to a particular view of the pages, starting for
example, at a particular paragraph indicated by the link or manifest
file, highlight the document or a portion of the targeted page with a
certain font and color, etc.
It seems limiting that while we can reference individual sites' data at
best targeting an existing anchor or predefined customizability, we do
not have any built-in way to bookmark and share views of that data over
In considering building a Firefox extension to try this as a proof of
concept, METS (http://www.loc.gov/standards/mets/ ) seems to have many
aspects which could be useful as a base in such a standard, including
the useful potential of enabling links to be described for files which
may not exist as hyperlinks within the files--i.e., XLink linkbases).
Besides this offline packages use, such a language might work just as
well to build a standard for hierarchical sitemaps, linkbases, or Gopher
2.0 (and not being limited to its usual web view, equivalent of "icon
view" on the desktop, but conceivably allowing "column browser" or tree
views for hierarchical data ranging from interlinked genealogies to
directories along the lines of http://www.dmoz.org/ or
http://dir.yahoo.com ), including for representing files on one's own
local system yet leading to other sites. The same manifest files might
be browseable directly (e.g., Gopher-mode), being targeted to
continguously lead to other such manifest file views until reaching a
document (the Gopher-view could optionally remain in sight as the end
document loaded), or, as mentioned above, as a cached and integrated
offline application (especially where compressed files and SQL were
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