[whatwg] Why won't you let us make our own HTML5 browsers?
brettz9 at yahoo.com
Fri Dec 16 23:16:12 PST 2011
What is the reason you won't let us make our own browsers-in-a-browser?
I'm not talking about some module you have to build yourself in order to
distribute a browser as an executable. I'm talking about visiting a
(secure/signed?) page on the web and being asked permission to give it
any or all powers including the ability to visit and display other
non-cross-domain-enabled sites, with the long-term possibility of
browsers becoming a mostly bare shell for installing full-featured
browsers (utilizing the possibility for APIs for these "browsers" to
themselves accept, integrate, and offline-cache add-on code from other
websites, emulating their own add-on system).
Of course there are security risks, but a standardized, cross-platform,
re-envisioned and expanded equivalent of ActiveX, which can work well
with Firewalls, does not add to the risks already inherent in the web.
I am not interested in the argument that "It is just too dangerous".
Browsers already allow people to download executables with a couple
clicks, not to mention install privileged browser add-ons. Enough said.
There is absolutely no real difference between these and what I am
proposing, except that executables offer the added inconvenience of
being non-cross-platform and awkward for requiring a separate,
non-readily-unifiable means of managing installations. Otherwise, please
someone tell me what is the /insurmountable/ difference?
I am not really interested in a prolonged technical discussion or debate
about the limitations of existing technologies. I am asking at a higher
level why bright people can't help us move to a web like this. As per
Ian's signature, "Things that are impossible just take longer", I see no
logical reason why such a web can't be envisioned and built.
From the resistance I have seen to the idea among otherwise bright
people, I can only reach the conclusion that there must be some ulterior
motives behind the resistance. The main browsers would not be able to
corner the market as easily anymore if such a thing happened. Because as
long as there are these oligopolic fiefdoms requiring a separate set of
to develop privileged applications easily---or for them to be unable to
interact in a privileged fashion with other such applications, there is
less competition and sadly, the world won't see competitive and
collective innovations leading to better privileged browsers. Rather we
are stuck with a centralized model whereby, the main browsers remain the
gate-keepers of innovation.
The dream of "Write once, run anywhere" is thankfully becoming more
realized with HTML5, though there is still a need for an expanded dream,
something along the lines of "Write once, run anywhere, access any
functionality desired", and the current albeit highly skilled custodians
of the web seem to sadly lack the vision at the moment to at least point
us in that direction, let alone have plans to achieve it. I would really
like to know why others seem not to have seen this problem or reacted to
Admittedly, such a concept could, if the existing browser add-on systems
adequately expose such high privileges to their add-ons, be initially
implemented itself as an add-on, allowing a cross-browser API initiated
from websites to trigger the add-on to ask for the granting of website
privileges, but in order to be well-designed, I would think that this
effort should fall under the umbrella of a wider, representative,
consultative, and capable effort, which is supported in principle by the
browsers so that at the very least they will not end up curtailing
privileges to their add-ons down the line on which the effort depends.
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