[whatwg] Resolving the persistent vs cache dilemma with file|save

Mike Hearn mike at plan99.net
Wed Sep 23 14:53:02 PDT 2009

The closest suggestion I saw was Linus' <input type="storage"> which
isn't quite the same:

1) Triggered from web page rather than browser chrome with associated
security issues

2) Explicit quota request (i think MB/GB isn't a meaningful unit of
measure for most people)

3) Doesn't solve the fact that file|save doesn't work for web apps

4) No selection of paths or files was mentioned, so, how will users
know what to back up/put on USB keys etc?

5) Freeing up space is done in the same way it is today - by deleting
files using a file manager

So I think this proposal will work better, at least a little bit. It
avoids introducing new UI elements at least.

> I'm not saying there's no merit to this, but since the thread was not that
> long ago, I don't think the burden should be on everyone on this list to
> re-explain their points.

Perhaps I should have been clearer. I read the whole "apparent
contradiction in spec" thread. If there was similar discussion in
other threads .... well, it's impossible to read the whole whatwg
archives even for a couple of months. That's a lot of mail! I hope I
read the parts relevant for this discussion.

Anyway, to prove I did actually read it, I believe Jens Alfke said

> Replace "user agent" -> "operating system" and "local state" -> "user
> files", and you have an argument that, when the hard disk in my
> MacBook gets too full, the OS should be free to start randomly
> deleting my local files to make room. This would be a really bad idea.

Isn't that exactly the idea behind Chrome OS? If files are backed up
to the cloud then the entire local storage can be seen as one big
cache and the OS would indeed start deleting local files when storage
got full, redownloading them as required.

Arguably that just moves the "storage full" problem to the server, but
then again, nothing except the potential for accidents stops a company
offering "infinite" quota and charging only for what is used, in which
case, you might never run out of space.

This "cloud vs desktop" platform thing seems to be a key area of
disagreement. I'm firmly in the cloud camp - writing HTML5 apps
independent of a server seems isn't something I understand.
JavaScript+HTML aren't going to beat .NET/Mono/Java at their own game,
so why even try? The thing that makes web apps interesting is the very
fact that they _are_ deeply integrated with the internet, are simple,
they don't require explicit management etc.

If HTML5 ends up changing these attributes just to be yet another API
over the same old paradigm of downloadable, installable apps that
generate DOC files or whatever, it won't have achieved very much.

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