Allowing sites to interact with local files more seamlessly.
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Latest commit 2e962de Jul 27, 2016 @drufball drufball committed on GitHub Include potential for cloud based file access
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img Include potential for cloud based file access Jul 27, 2016 Call out Blob workaround, give examples. Apr 7, 2016

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View proposals in the EXPLAINER.


Today, if a web site wants to create experiences involving local files (document editor, image compressor, etc.) they are at a disadvantage to native apps. A web site must ask the user to reopen a file every time they want to edit it. After opening, the site can only save changes by re downloading the file to the Downloads folder. A native app, by comparison, can maintain a most recently used list, auto save, and save files anywhere the user wants.

Use cases

  • Open local file to read
  • Open local file to edit and then save
  • Open local file to edit with auto save
  • Create and save a new file
  • Delete an existing file
  • Read meta data about files


  • [FileSaver.js] polyfills saveAs() from the [W3C File API], but files open in a new window instead of downloading on Safari 6.1+ and iOS.
  • In Edge, Firefox, and Chrome developers can:
    • Create a fake anchor element (var a = document.createElement('a'))
    • Set download to the desired filename ( = 'file.txt')
    • Set href to a data URI or Blob URL (a.href = URL.createObjectURL(blob))
    • Fake a click on the anchor element (
    • Clean up if necessary (URL.revokeObjectURL(a.href))
  • Setting window.location to 'data:application/octet-stream' + data_stream
  • Hidden Flash controls to display a “save as” dialog

These methods are clunky and only support “save as” (and depending on the UA may automatically appear in Downloads without prompting the user for location). They do not support most recently used lists, auto save, save, or deleting a file.