[whatwg] Notification API

Jonas Sicking jonas at sicking.cc
Wed Feb 3 13:27:04 PST 2010

On Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 1:00 PM, John Gregg <johnnyg at google.com> wrote:
> On Wed, Feb 3, 2010 at 12:27 PM, Robert O'Callahan <robert at ocallahan.org>
> wrote:
>> On Thu, Feb 4, 2010 at 6:17 AM, John Gregg <johnnyg at google.com> wrote:
>>> The Webapps WG is working on a spec for a Web Notification API.  You can
>>> see the current draft at
>>> http://dev.w3.org/2006/webapi/WebNotifications/publish/, and I would suggest
>>> sending comments to the public-webapps mailing list.
>>> That spec attempts to address the icon+title+text use case, and allows a
>>> user agent to use a third party presentation system as long as that system
>>> can notify of notifications being acknowledged, but also allows HTML as an
>>> option if the device supports it.
>>> I disagree with the claim that HTML notifications are overkill as long as
>>> they can be done securely, it opens up a lot of benefit to have dynamic &
>>> interactive notifications.  Even for the simple case of Calendar reminders
>>> which might have multiple forms of acknowledgement: snooze for N minutes (a
>>> <select> would be nice), or dismiss.
>> If the underlying platform notification system (e.g. Growl or
>> libnotification) doesn't support that functionality, how should the UA
>> behave?
>> I suppose the UA could distinguish between notifications that can be
>> supported by the platform and those that can't, and use the platform
>> notification system when possible, otherwise fall back to its own
>> notifications, but that could be a jarring user experience.
> The spec states that HTML is an optional part of the implementation.  If the
> UA intends to use a presentation system that doesn't support HTML it should
> not expose the HTML API and just expose the plain one.  This isn't ideal as
> it requires authors to check the capabilities of the UA, but it does provide
> consistency for the user.

This is a very bad idea. Sites are going to forget to do this, or
rather not know that they need to do this. At some point a
high-profile site is going to not do this check, and from that point
on all UAs will effectively be forced to support HTML notifications or
not be compatible with the web.

I can't think of a single time when optional web features have succeeded.

/ Jonas

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