Wednesday, April 25, 2007

HTML 5 and Drag and Drop

Here's a good overview of the newly unveiled HTML 5 specification that's just out.

And I think they're missing something crucial.

Ray Ozzie has done some great work making what amounts to a clipboard hack for the Web. He is quite right: the Web needs a clipboard, particularly as the Web becomes an application platform. Ozzie's work is slick, elegant, and very useful.

But it's also too darned complicated, and that is no knock on Ray Ozzie. It took a lot of ingenuity to get to this point with the limited resources of HTML 4.

Really, drag and drop should be a first-class citizen of HTML. Why not? Forms and buttons are, and dragging and dropping is as important a GUI concept as forms and buttons. Support baked straight into HTML would make it simple on developers: your browser implements it once, and the rest of us down the Web food-chain never have to worry about it any more than we worry about our <b> tags.

How simple can it be? Very simple, I think. All we really need is a <drag> tag and a <drop> tag. Each <drag> tag attribute can specify which mime formats it will export to (i.e. application/pdf, text/plain) and a callback function for fetching the data each format. A <drop> tag event handler can choose an available format when a drop is made and update its appearance.

And the Web will have, not only a clipboard, but also a desktop.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I kinda have been expecting this in a way...
But I reali dun think da world is going to end...start a new era maybe but the world is not ending.
That's not gonna happen till a thousand years later! Ok, I'm not sure bout that either but that's not the point! The world's not gonna end! Full stop!
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