[whatwg] Web Storage: apparent contradiction in spec

Jens Alfke snej at google.com
Wed Sep 2 11:08:43 PDT 2009

On Aug 31, 2009, at 12:04 PM, Peter Kasting wrote:

> If you combine that statement with section 6.1's "User agents should  
> present the persistent storage feature to the user in a way that  
> does not distinguish them from HTTP session cookies", then the  
> result is that, when the user requests to delete cookies from a  
> site, the UA will also delete that site's local storage. That is  
> exactly the behavior I am concerned about.
> That's not true.  You're misinterpreting a statement about the  
> granularity of control users should have as one about what  
> terminology a UA should use.

The [lack of] granularity of control actually is a serious concern,  
whatever the terminology.

> The spec already recommends a bunch of things about what users  
> should be shown w.r.t. Local Storage, such as how much space a site  
> is using, so it's clear that a UA that wants to comply with this  
> "should" is going to need to construct UI that doesn't just use the  
> word "cookies" everywhere but actually presents the data as "here's  
> your locally stored data for this site" with local storage content  
> enumerated.  Users won't be given a prompt that says "clear cookies"  
> that, confusingly, clears more than cookies; they'll be given a  
> prompt like "clear all locally stored data".

The command will have to say something about cookies or it'll confuse  
anyone but an HTML5 expert. It'd have to be more like "Clear cookies  
and other locally stored data".

The fundamental problem here is that some uses of local storage are  
nothing at all like cookies, for the same reason that ~/Documents is  
not the same as ~/Library/Caches. In the example I gave, the user  
needs to delete cookies for a site, but absolutely should not delete  
local storage. For the spec to tell browser developers to present the  
two as being the same thing makes no sense here.

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