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Google, Mozilla Working on Letting Web Apps Edit Files Despite Warning That it Could Be Abused

Google and Mozilla are heading a group that is devising a way for users to save changes they make using web apps. From a report: 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. “Today, if a user wants to edit a local file in a web app, the web app needs to ask the user to open the file,” said Google developer advocate Pete LePage. “Then, after editing the file, the only way to save changes is by downloading the file to the Downloads folder, or having to replace the original file by navigating the directory structure to find the original folder and file. This user experience leaves a lot to be desired, and makes it hard to build web apps that access user files.”

To this end, 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.”


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