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posted by martyb on Sunday November 25 2018, @01:59AM   Printer-friendly
from the welcome-to-the-danger-zone dept.

Google and Mozilla are working together on a method to let web apps gain access to users' files.

A group led by Google and Mozilla is working to make it easy to edit files using browser-based web apps but wants advice on how to guard against the "major" security and privacy risks.

The idea is to allow users to save changes they've made using web apps, without the hassle of having to download new files after each edit, as is necessary today.

[...] the W3C Web Incubator Community Group (WICG), which is chaired by representatives from Chrome developer Google and Firefox developer Mozilla, is working on developing the new Writable Files API, which would allow web apps running in the browser to open a file, edit it, and save the changes back to the same file.

However, the group says the biggest challenge will be guarding against malicious sites seeking to abuse persistent access to files on a user's system.

"By far the hardest part for this API is of course going to be the security model to use," warns the WICG's explainer page for the API.

"The API provides a lot of scary power to websites that could be abused in many terrible ways.

What could possibly go wrong?

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  • (Score: 5, Interesting) by darkfeline on Monday November 26 2018, @01:51AM

    by darkfeline (1030) on Monday November 26 2018, @01:51AM (#766341) Homepage

    Because the current method for reading/writing files is uploading/downloading the entire file. If you're editing a 1GB file, that's undesirable. Having direct file access is clearly superior for this use case.

    (Also, take a look at the HTTP file transfer protocol at some point, it could be generously described as shit.)

    The reason is of course to support web apps, and the reason web apps exist is portability. Web apps are basically the modern POSIX. I'm sure that sounds scary to a lot of people, but POSIX was scary for old school Unix too; it killed them right dead.

    The Plan 9 folks probably don't like it, but the modern "Web" is what Plan 9 was trying to achieve, decentralized computation/storage that could be accessed from anywhere. Sure, it's a lot shittier, but it actually exists, and existing turns out to be a very important feature for software.

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