Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

W3C's Web Storage technology goes live

The World Wide Web Consortium offers a richer alternative to Internet cookies

Article comments

The World Wide Web Consortium has finalized its specification for Web Storage, a technology that would give Web applications more flexibility in storing data on user machines.

Now that Web Storage is an official specification, browser makers and Web application developers can deploy the technology without worrying about changes to the API (application programming interface), or about being liable for potential patent infringement.

The W3C's Web Applications (WebApps) Working Group shepherded the W3C approval of the standard, after it was first developed by the Google engineer Ian Hickson and the Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group <a href="http://www.whatwg.org/" rel="nofollow">(WHATWG)</a>.

Web Storage works a bit like HTTP session cookies, which can store user data on the user's machine for a Web site for extended user sessions, such as those for online purchases.

Web Storage offers a number of advantages over cookies though. It provides programmers with a richer programmatic interface. It makes it easier for a browser to support multiple sessions at the same site simultaneously. It also offers the ability to store megabytes of information on the user's computer, which could be handy for storing a user's email box, or documents that the user authored.

"One of the nice properties of Web Storage is that is a relatively simple specification from a feature and API perspective," wrote Arthur Barstow, co-chair of the WebApps Working Group, in an email interview.

For more complex offline storage needs, Barstow recommended the W3C's <a href="http://www.w3.org/TR/IndexedDB/" rel="nofollow">Indexed Database API</a>, now in development.

Unlike many Web standards, Web Storage attracted a lot of interest early on from browser makers. It is already supported in Internet Explorer (back to version 8), Firefox, Opera, Chrome, and Safari.

With Web Storage, Each site has its own storage area on the user's machine. Material is stored as key/value pairs, where each key is a string. The data itself must be in the string format as well. Each type of browser sets its own limit of how much data could be stored on the user's computer, ranging from 5MB to 25MB.

Web Storage also provides some functionality to aid in user privacy. It provides a way to delete data after a certain period of time and restricts access to the data to just the websites that created the storage area. Domain name spoofing can be prevented by the use of Transport Layer Security (TLS) protocol.

The work is not yet finished. The group still has to reduce the high overhead of using the storage mutex (mutual exclusion) object, which was designed to avoid race conditions.

The group also has to address a number of outstanding security issues. For instance, different services all sharing a single domain name could snoop on each other's stored data. Service providers could also share user data on a machine without the user's knowledge, which could encourage surreptitious user tracking.

The W3C is a standards organization that publishes open standard protocols and guidelines to ensure the long-term growth of the Web. It is headed by Web inventor Tim Berners-Lee and CEO Jeffrey Jaffe.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com



Share:

More from Techworld

More relevant IT news

Comments



Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *