[whatwg] Proposal for a web application descriptor

Simon Heckmann simon at simonheckmann.de
Sun May 1 07:49:09 PDT 2011

Hello everyone, 

After reading all your comments I partly re-tought some of my ideas. First of all it might not be the best idea to create a full application descriptor if it would only be used to specify permissions. Additionally, I can see why people do not want to be asked for all permissions at once. However, I on the other hand do not want to be asked for all permissions separately. After reading some of the links posted in this discussion I modified my proposal a little. You can find the new version here: 


While the first part has not changed much, the second part is all-new and includes two completely re-modeled mock-ups.

Again, comments are welcome.

Kind regards,
Simon Heckmann

Am 30.04.2011 um 17:23 schrieb Robert O'Callahan:

> On Sun, May 1, 2011 at 1:52 AM, Glenn Maynard <glenn at zewt.org> wrote:
>> On Sat, Apr 30, 2011 at 5:23 AM, Robert O'Callahan <robert at ocallahan.org>
>> wrote:
>>> The application could have a settings page with a checkbox "Enable
>> desktop
>> notifications". When you click on that box, the browser shows its (passive,
>> asynchronous) UI for enabling desktop notifications for that application.
>> This still implies having an API to ask for permission for a feature before
>> using it.  (Web Notifications has a draft for this:
>> http://dev.w3.org/2006/webapi/WebNotifications/publish/FeaturePermissions.html
>> .)
>> Also, many developers won't want a UI like that, since when you disable a
>> feature and expect users to enable it in settings, a lot of them won't.
>> Many people never look at settings pages at all.  Pages are more likely to
>> request permissions as soon as they can.
> Notifications are a particularly hard case for the principle of requesting
> permissions in response to user action, because the whole point of
> notifications is that they happen when the user isn't giving the application
> attention :-).
> Another possible approach would be to have the default be for notifications
> to show up in browser UI associated with the page --- e.g., highlight the
> tab title and show the notification(s) at the top of the page if you switch
> to the tab --- and in that notification-showing UI, offer a "show on
> desktop" button which lets the notifications for that application migrate to
> the desktop --- effectively a permission grant.
> Of course, asking each of these while using the application would also be
>> painfully annoying, and it's not obvious how to make permissions meaningful
>> to the user (eg. when you use its feature) while also scaling to lots of
>> permissions.
> I think we have to consider specific cases. For Skype, it depends on whether
> all those permissions are really needed, and why... It might not be that
> hard to figure out how to make on-demand permission grants intelligible. We
> owe it to users to try.
> Rob
> -- 
> "Now the Bereans were of more noble character than the Thessalonians, for
> they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures
> every day to see if what Paul said was true." [Acts 17:11]

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