[whatwg] Browser-as-Desktop: Widgets in the browser
brettz9 at yahoo.com
Tue Jan 31 21:02:56 PST 2012
This idea is more of a browser feature request, but it impinges on
language features which could conceivably be allowed in HTML to trigger
the feature. The idea would work best in browsers which allowed
toolbars/full-screen-mode to be configured on a per-tab basis, but does
not require it.
The idea is to bring the desktop view to the browser--for web pages to
contain instructions indicating they were to be treated as widgets
(though browsers could allow any page to be so converted as well). Note
that this idea is NOT for widgets to be installed or displayed via an
artificially separate mechanism from browsers, but rather for different
tabs loaded in the browser to share a common user-determined canvas
(though the browser might let the user drop the need for maintaining
independent tabs, instead allowing them to be collapsed and allowing
right-click to give options to remove or replace a widget).
Widget pages would be delivered with a truly transparent background (as
opposed to a "background:transparent" merely used for convenience in CSS
but which tends to have an assumed empty background unless specified).
The underlying background could be:
1) the user's machine desktop
2) a browser-provided background
3) a simple choice by the user of a background color, image, WebGL
object, or, their superset, another non-transparent website (which
might, for example, provide an interface for one's FileSystem, etc.).
The main use case is to allow widgets to be distributed as regular web
pages, useable at their direct URL without the need for independent
installation mechanisms, while still working with persistent tabs as
some browser offer, HTML5-driven offline apps and a "desktop"-like view.
If an earlier suggestion I made for a browser to allow iframes to be
shown with a set of navigation controls were adopted, a widget might
itself serve as a URL navigation bar, allowing it to be dragged around
as a widget and load its own page.
Multiple widgets could be provided on a single page, allowing for those
items z-index to be maintained in reference to one another (perhaps with
WebGL objects also useable in reference to such a z-index if this is not
already possible), while the browser could allow the user to control the
position and depth of a widget set relative to other widget sets (where
a "set" could be single or multiple widgets, depending on the number of
top-level elements in the page).
Moreover, the background itself might allow full 360 degree rotation and
placement in any direction or depth.
Fundamental applications such as sticky notes, could be zoomed in and
out, perhaps rotated, and even websites not designed to be used as
widgets could be zoomed and moved around within the background.
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