(despite Firefox's attempts to prevent that)
My Linux Planet article last week was on printing pretty calendars. But I hit one bug in Photo Calendar. It had a HTML file chooser for picking an image ... and when I chose an image and clicked Select to use it. it got the pathname wrong every time.
I poked into the code (Photo Calendar's code turned out to be exceptionally clean and well documented) and found that it was expecting to get the pathname from the file input element's value attribute. But input.File.value was just returning the filename, foo.jpg, instead of the full pathname, /home/user/Images/yosemite/foo.jpg. So when the app tried to make it into a file:/// URL, it ended up pointing to the wrong place.
Perhaps this is even reasonable, given how common cross-site scripting bugs have been in browsers lately -- maybe running a local script really is a security risk if you have other tabs active. But it leaves us with the problem of what to do about apps that need to do things like choose a local image file, then display it.
And it turns out there is: a data URL. Take the entire contents of the file (ouch) and create a URL out of those contents, then set the src attribute of the image to that.
Of course, that makes for a long, horrifying, unreadable URL -- but the user never has to see that part. I suspect it's also horribly memory intensive -- the image has to be loaded into memory anyway, to display it, but is Firefox also translating all of that to a URL-legal syntax? Obviously, any real app using this technique had better keep an eye on memory consumption. But meanwhile, it fixes Photo Calendar's file button.
Here's what the code looks like:
img = document.getElementById("pic"); fileinput = document.input.File; if (img && fileinput) img.src = fileinput.files.getAsDataURL();
Here's a working minimal demo of using getAsDataURL() with a file input.
[ 14:57 Jan 17, 2010 More programming | permalink to this entry | ]