The World Wide Web Consortium has published File API, an interface draft that Web browsers can use to better manipulate files and is part of a larger effort to provide a better foundation for interactive applications. File API defines ways browsers and Web sites can improve how they handle files, including selecting multiple files for upload, such as on photo-sharing sites or Web-based email.
Other improvements govern the use of "blobs," or packages of raw binary data such as video files. Google has supported blobs for its Gears browser plug-in as a way to separate large videos into smaller pieces so uploads can be more easily resumed if a network problem interrupts the process. A major benefit is that files are handled asynchronously, meaning the browser will not freeze while a file is being uploaded or managed, and the browser reports back on the progress of file transfers.
The interface is compatible with several standards, including the drag-and-drop support in HTML5, currently in development, and the Web Workers technology that improves the way browsers perform numerous operations simultaneously. The interface also can help Web applications process and understand the contents of files. For example, the interface could allow for Web applications that automatically search through a music playlist and find the lyrics to the songs on that playlist.
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Abstracts Copyright © 2009 Information Inc., Bethesda, Maryland, USA
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