[whatwg] api for fullscreen()

Kit Grose kit at iqmultimedia.com.au
Thu Feb 4 16:53:17 PST 2010

On 05/02/2010, at 8:08 AM, David Singer wrote:
> On Feb 3, 2010, at 15:03 , Kit Grose wrote:
>> I feel that the user shouldn't have the ability to enter into some sort of "pseudo-fullscreen". If the content needs to be displayed full-screen,
> I don't believe that there is any such 'need' and that the user should own that decision.  I, for example, basically refuse to use applications that have the hubris to assume that they should own the screen and cover all the parts they don't need with gray.  I didn't buy a large display to see grey painted everywhere;  I bought it so I *could* see multiple things at once.

I agree that such behaviour is not always desirable and that prudent application developers should design their applications such that full-screen is not necessary. If a user chooses not to enter full-screen, giving the developer that information permits them to provide a suitable alternative interface; transparently providing an in-window experience will simply limit the ability to use fullscreen mode for things like comprehension tests, games that capture the mouse/keyboard as input methods and must hide the cursor, etc.

So long as the user has the ability to escape fullscreen simply, the fullscreen API would behave more or less the same way as the fullscreen API in desktop application environments. That developers have the ability to build horrible interfaces is an unfortunate but necessary side effect of giving them useful APIs.

>> If the user does not wish to view the content in full-screen and the developer feels that content can only be reasonably viewed full-screen,
> The developer has no idea how big my screen is, how many I have, or a host of other questions.

The developer has access to your screen size via the window.screen object. I agree that it's presumptuous of a developer to insist on full-screen in many (most?) situations, but for applications that require full-screen conceptually (as opposed to applications that need to run large) I don't believe screen size should be a factor.

By the sounds of things I'm pretty certain we're in agreement that fullscreen capabilities should be used sparingly as a matter of UX; I too have multiple (large) monitors, and as a Mac user tend to layer windows instead of running anything "maximised". I also develop kiosk and medical applications where fullscreen is not only desirable but necessary behaviour. Crippling the API such that the developer cannot determine whether or not the user permitted their application to run fullscreen is unnecessary—it's up to developers to use the API in a usable manner, and up to UAs to provide an easy "escape hatch" if the developer fails to do so, just like in desktop environments.


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