WebKit Offers Early Preview of ‘Web Intents’

Compare Cost: Get 8 Free E-Commerce Design Bids
Compare: Web Design Calculator | Web Design Cost Guidelines

The WebKit project, creators of the rendering engine that powers web browsers like Safari and Chrome, has added support for the new Intent tag, part of the proposed Web Intents standard.

Originally developed by Google’s Paul Kinlan, Web Intents are a kind of meta-website API that would allows sites to easily pass data between each other — for example, to edit a photograph or share a URL with friends.

Since Kinlan initially proposed Web Intents — which are based on a similar system used in Google’s Android operating system — Mozilla and several other companies have joined forces to work on standardizing Web Intents.

Web Intents offer a way to connect your favorite sites to each other and pass data between them. The canonical example is a photo-sharing website that wants to let you edit your uploaded images. To do that, the site simply adds a button, Edit This Photo, and behind the scenes the new <intent> tag tells the browser that the button wants to connect to a photo-editing service. The browser would then either connect to your favorite online photo editor or offer a list of options.

In practice Web Intents work a bit like mailto: links, defining an action and then passing it along to the browser, which allows the user to choose how to handle the action. The difference is that instead of opening a desktop app, Web Intents connect to web services. Here’s a barebones example of what the tag looks like (taken from webintents.org):

  title="Kinlan's Image Share" />

In this example the browser would then give the user a list of registered image sharing apps — services like Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and so on — which the user can choose from.

Part of what makes Web Intents appealing is that it decouples services. Instead of waiting for Flickr to support the latest and greatest online photo editor, Flickr could simply add an intent tag and let you choose any editor you like, including that cool new one that’s still a private beta. Flickr would simply pass the image to the editor of your choice and when you’re done tweaking your photo the editor would then pass the final image back to Flickr.

Other use cases for Web Intents include choosing a preferred search engine, cloud printing, logging into websites and, of course, sharing something on your preferred social networks.

For some more background on Web Intents, check out Paul Kinlan’s blog, particularly his overview post on the brief history of Web Intents and his follow-up on using the Web Intents JavaScript APIs in Chrome. Tantek Çelik, the creator of microformats, also wrote a nice post last year on what he calls Web Actions (same thing, better name). Çelik breaks down the idea behind Web Intents and how they benefit not just developers, but users as well.

As Çelik writes, “web actions have the potential to change our very notions of what a web application is from a single site to loosely coupled interactions across multiple, distributed sites…. In that regard, web actions have the potential to become a building block for distributed web applications.”

Web Intents are a long way from a finalized standard and while many things may change before other browsers add support, if you’d like to get a sense of what you can do with Web Intents and how they work in practice grab the latest WebKit nightly build and point it at the examples page on webintents.org.

Image: Aidan Jones/CC/Flickr

Source http://www.webmonkey.com/?p=56402
Wed, 09 May 2012 16:40:02 GMT
Tags: APIs, Browsers, Web Intents, Web Standards, Webkit,


Picture Better Web Apps With Mozilla’s Camera API

So far mobile web apps lack access to key elements of our phones. For example, your phone's browser can't take pictures like native apps can, but Mozilla's nascent Camera API is hoping to change that. It's not an official web standard just yet, but th

Flickr Amps Up the Social With New ‘Groups’ Features

Some new features for Flickr Groups make it easier to share your photos with the Flickr community. Thanks to Flickr's API those same features may soon be available in your favorite iOS and Android photo apps as well.


Internet Explorer Market Share Surges, as IE 9 Wins Hearts and Minds

The browser wars are back and Internet Explorer 9 is gaining converts. For the second time this year IE made large gains, picking up almost one point of market share while Chrome, Firefox, and Safari all lost out.

The Web Needs to Get Ready for the High-Resolution Future

The new iPad is just the first in a coming tidal wave of high-resolution screens. Today we have hacks, but what the web needs are new standards and new tools to make sure developers are ready for the high-resolution future.

Firefox for Windows 8 Beginning to Take Shape

Mozilla is making progress on a version of Firefox for the Windows 8 Metro interface, but bigger problems lie ahead. Microsoft's rules for the Metro environment allow for only one browser in Metro mode. By default that's Internet Explorer 10, which leav

Web Intents

Cool Websites and Tools [September 17th 2012]

A Festive Guide To Facebook Gifts [Weekly Facebook Tips]

Kuvva Shows Featured Art On Your Desktop [Mac]

Free Energetic Music To Make You Move [Sound Sunday]

25 Beautiful Vintage Photo Effect Tutorials

Article Tags
Freelance Designer News Articles
Web Apps & Internet

cool web apps
All Posts
iPhone / iPad / iPod
Google Android
Games & Gaming Tips
Web Design
Freelance Graphic & Web
social media
Cool Windows Apps & Tric