[whatwg] Directory upload via <input type="file" directory>

John Gregg johnnyg at google.com
Thu Apr 22 15:15:19 PDT 2010

So are you suggesting an input element that accepts directories
dragged onto it, but has no way of choosing a directory through a
system dialog?


On Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 3:11 PM, Ojan Vafai <ojan at chromium.org> wrote:
> But there is already a default UI that lets you select a folder, a file or
> both (drag-drop). I don't see why this forces the UA to do anything. Just
> because you can select both folders and files doesn't mean the UA needs to
> expose extra UI on top of drag-drop to let you do so. Again, no more so than
> they already have to expose extra UI to deal with multiple inputs.
> Ojan
> On Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 2:28 PM, John Gregg <johnnyg at google.com> wrote:
>> The most relevant issue is that in Windows/Mac/Linux, there are no system
>> dialogs that let the user select either a folder or a file.  They each have
>> separate "choose a file" and "choose a folder" dialogs.  I think the logical
>> reason for that is that when selecting a file, clicking a directory means to
>> enter that directory and select from its files, not to choose that directory
>> as the result of selection.
>> Thus we would force UAs to reinvent file-picker interfaces in order to
>> deal with an input element that allows both folders and files.
>>  -John
>> On Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 2:18 PM, Ojan Vafai <ojan at chromium.org> wrote:
>>> It's unfortunate that users need to distinguish between single and
>>> multiple file inputs. That's not something we can change at this point. The
>>> web started with single file inputs. We can avoid adding a third type of
>>> file input they need to understand though.
>>> Also, what should happen if you drag files and folders onto a "multiple"
>>> or "directory" input? Just drop the ones that are of the wrong type? I
>>> cannot imagine users making sense of that.
>>> It's not clear to me from your original email what issues you encountered
>>> during implementation that led to this proposal. Is it just the leaf name
>>> conflict issue? I agree that's a problem, but maybe there's a different
>>> solution to that?
>>> Ojan
>>> On Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 12:53 PM, John Gregg <johnnyg at google.com> wrote:
>>>> That's a fair question, but how is it clear today whether an input can
>>>> accept multiple files vs. a single file using drag-and-drop?  Currently if I
>>>> drag multiple files onto an input that doesn't have 'multiple', I get only
>>>> the first one.  (In Chrome.)
>>>> Some good default text from the UA, like "Choose folder..." instead of
>>>> "Choose file...", would go far to solve that, I think.
>>>>  -John
>>>> On Tue, Apr 6, 2010 at 12:38 PM, Ojan Vafai <ojan at chromium.org> wrote:
>>>>> What about drag-drop? I should be able to drag a directory, a file, or
>>>>> a list of files onto an input, no? If not, how is this distinction shown to
>>>>> users? How will it be clear to users when they can do one or the other?
>>>>> Ojan
>>>>> On Thu, Apr 1, 2010 at 3:53 PM, John Gregg <johnnyg at google.com> wrote:
>>>>>> For context, Ian Fette started a thread about uploading directories of
>>>>>> files in
>>>>>> December: http://lists.whatwg.org/pipermail/whatwg-whatwg.org/2009-December/024455.html
>>>>>> At that time, it was thought that directory upload could be
>>>>>> implemented by a UA in response to a <input type="file" multiple> tag using
>>>>>> different UI only, and modifying the FileAPI spec to allow path information
>>>>>> in the form
>>>>>> input.files[0].name="1.jpg"
>>>>>> input.files[0].path="a"
>>>>>> input.files[1].name="2.jpg"
>>>>>> input.files[1].path="a/b"
>>>>>> input.files[2].name="3.jpg"
>>>>>> input.files[2].path="a/c"
>>>>>> I've started developing a prototype of this in WebKit/Chromium.  Based
>>>>>> on what I've encountered so far, I would like to propose adding directory
>>>>>> upload functionality using an explicit new 'directory' attribute on the file
>>>>>> input element.
>>>>>> The existing behavior of <input type="file" multiple> would not
>>>>>> change, but when processing <input type="file" directory>, the UA would
>>>>>> display a directory selection UI and store the path information, and not
>>>>>> allow individual files to be selected.  It would allow multiple files to
>>>>>> have the same leaf name (.name attribute), as long as the paths were
>>>>>> different.  The path attributes would include the name of the chosen
>>>>>> directory
>>>>>> This would be preferable for several reasons:
>>>>>>  - Most built-in file system UI on major platforms (Windows/Mac/Linux)
>>>>>> have distinct dialogs for choosing files and choosing directories.  Allowing
>>>>>> the UA to use these directly makes sense rather than creating hybrids.
>>>>>>  - Avoiding "leaf name" conflicts in a directory tree is not feasible
>>>>>> in many applications -- asking a user to ensure unique photo names in a
>>>>>> large set of albums before uploading would fail to meet that use case.
>>>>>>  Therefore HTML documents should know in advance whether the path
>>>>>> information will be relevant in the eventual storage of the files.  Sites
>>>>>> currently using <input type="file" multiple> would have compatibility
>>>>>> problems with an implementation which allowed conflicting file names along
>>>>>> different paths.
>>>>>> What are your thoughts about adding the 'directory' attribute?
>>>>>> Thanks,
>>>>>>  -John

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