[whatwg] Bluetooth devices

Bjartur Thorlacius svartman95 at gmail.com
Sat Dec 18 13:56:12 PST 2010

On Fri, 17 Dec 2010 10:42:52 -0000, Diogo Resende  
<dresende at thinkdigital.pt> wrote:

> Let's think about an example, perhaps a bluetooth weather station. For
> the OS it's just another bluetooth device. What if a web app could have
> permission (granted by the user/browser) to scan for bluetooth devices
> and fetch weather information, save it on the weather history and
> process it in some way.
Then someone would create a web app that scans for specific models of  
bluetooth devices, connects to them, fetches weather information and  
processes it in some way. All is fine and dandy, as long as everybody is  
using exactly the same model as the author (or one of the models supported  
by the company maintaining the app), and needs to apply that process and  
that process alone.

Say someone creates a web app that applies a process to weather  
information gathered from an hypothetical Weather-o-Meter connected via  
Bluetooth. Say I'm doing a research on global warming and the Gulf stream,  
and want to apply that process to weather information gathered from all  
over the country. Even if all the weather stations in Iceland are using  
Weather-o-Meter, I won't receive the information over Bluetooth. For this  
to work weather information gathered on the weather stations must be  
encoded in a standardized format, transferred to me over a network for me  
to decode and apply said process to. I'm thusly required to persuade the  
author to add an alternative input mechanism to the app, hack my Bluetooth  
stack and create a virtual Bluetooth device or rewrite the app.
> - Does the OS need to know how to fetch this information?
Yes, the purpose of an OS is to abstract and multiplex hardware.
Does a web app need to know how to fetch this information?

> - Is a browser plugin really a better idea? Which browser/version? Then
> how is the page going to fetch that? How secure is that? Can't another
> page do it? This reminds me the use of <embed> which I personally hate.
I agree that a browser plugin would the wrong approach, but I argue that a  
web page would be as well. I can't imagine a scenario where I'm developing  
software support for a Bluetooth weather station and I figure: "Heck, I  
should put a web browser between the Bluetooth stack and the weather  
station abstraction."

> I hope this kind of example enlights some people to forget about
> storage, cameras, keyboards and all the stuff you can get in any general
> technology store.
Where do you draw the line? What's inherently different about hardware you  
can find in general technology stores? Why should there even be so  
low-level webapps that they interface with hardware? HTML forms don't care  
if their input comes from a pipe. No web technology should.

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