On Web Capabilities

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Everyone here wants a more powerful web. With the emergence of progressive web applications, and “classical” web apps such as Google Docs and Dropbox, as well as web pages that could just do more, I think we should start expecting pages with the same sort of privilege as native programs, but with the same security and permissions that users have come to expect of the web.

Let’s get a list of wants going. No proposals or drafts or anything, just ideas.

I’ll start.

  • Long-term filesystem access (to a file or folder specified by the user)
  • Unrestricted network access
  • Protocol registration
  • Capability registration

Of course, all of these would need to be able to be controlled by the end user.

In addition, it’d be quite nice to see a replacement or rethinking of contenteditable. A “native”, yet customizable, rich text entry would be great. The main kicker for me is current how terrible it is to move the caret around and handle selections.

First of all we need a simple way to open the website preferences programmatically. Native apps already have that. Otherwise it is always difficult to explain to the average user how he can change the permissions.

Oh, yeah, that’s fair. I can see a few roadblocks for this, however. Browsers have it in different places, and sometimes, across multiple pages/screens/whatever. For example, in Chrome, it’s in two areas: the quick access you get when clicking on the lock, and the extended settings you get when digging through the settings.

Have you seen the Chrome team’s Project Fugu? https://www.chromium.org/teams/web-capabilities-fugu

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