In association with heise online

08 August 2011, 16:50

Google intent on web apps working together

  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • submit to slashdot
  • StumbleUpon
  • submit to reddit

Chromium logo Google engineers have been researching a scheme which will allow web applications to work together without having hard-wired knowledge of other web applications. The project, Web Intents, takes its name and design philosophy from the Android feature, Intents, which allows Android applications to work together.

With Intents, an application can register that it is able to handle particular actions, such as process an image, examine a URL or edit some text. Another application can then create an Activity, defining what it would like to have done, and ask the Intents system how that should be performed. This process is described as run-time late binding.

The project is being developed by Paul Kinlan, a Google engineer who started work in November 2010 on the first version of Web Intents ( which used IFRAMEs. That work in turn inspired Mozilla Labs' Web Activities while Kinlan moved on to work on a similar project called Web Introducer, but this "didn't work out". Kinlan has returned to working on Web Intents but as a new project with the original goal, and the added goal of making it "so painless that most developers can start integrating with applications in 5 minutes of reading the spec."

According to Google's Kinlan, he is working with Mozilla to create a shared approach to solving the problems of implementing such a system. The new site includes examples of how intents can be registered, default intents and an example Javascript "Shim" which can be used to experiment with Intents. There are also examples of use cases, registration and starting Activities. Eventually, the aim of the project would be to see the discovery of Intents and creation of Activities integrated into browsers; most likely initially in Chromium. Development code is being shared on the project's Github repository and is licensed under the Apache License 2.0.


Print Version | Send by email | Permalink:

  • July's Community Calendar

The H Open

The H Security

The H Developer

The H Internet Toolkit