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W3C Updates Working Draft for Clipboard APIs and Events

April 29, 2015

Consider this a WebRTC Solutions public service announcement. The W3C (World Wide Web Consortium) has updated the working draft for clipboard APIs and events. As W3C notes regarding the status of the update, “This document was published by the Web Applications Working Group as a Working Draft. This document is intended to become a W3C Recommendation.” It should also be noted that this really is a work in progress. Hence, while the probability is high it will become a Web standard there remains work to be done.

This particular update provides more details about the browser clipboard API in more detail than previous versions, and outlines the possible issues regarding basic clipboard operations such as copy, cut and paste in Web applications.

Although these operations seem basic, considering the utility and promise of WebRTC for real-time collaboration where things like screen sharing associated functionality such as ease-of-use for inserting information from various resources via clipboard, this update is of consequence. Assuring the functionality of the API is extensible and easy-to-use in the browser without having to invoke external Web services or APIs has been the reason d’être of WebRTC from the beginning.

It is why W3C has concentrated on creating standards for all of the Javascript-based APIs for enabling programmability by WebRTC-compliant browsers to access and control local device subsystems including clipboard so that real-time audio and multimedia interactions are frictionless and hopefully universally used. In fact, a good way to think of this is understanding that all cars have the gas pedal and brake pedal and steering wheel in the same place so anyone who knows how to drive does not need a manual to perform basic driving.  The location of everything else on a dashboard and how they are displayed is differentiated value.      

As the updated clipboard API documentation details, an updated look was needed based on use cases that identified the requirement of changing the clipboard default operations. And, for the technically inclined it walks through the suggested means for doing so.

As also suggested in the headline, the document has information and links to other W3C APIs. These include:

  • Pointer Events, which handles pointer input from devices such as mouse, pen or touch screen
  • Vibration API, which controls a device’s vibrator
  • Indexed Database API, which provides a database of records holding simple values and hierarchical objects
  • Geolocation API specification, which gives Web pages access to scripted geographical location information; and Touch Events, which represents points of contact with a touch-sensitive surface.

To get totally current about WebRTC, if you haven’t already registered to attend WebRTC Conference & Expo being held May 12-14 at the JW Marriott Marquis Miami, you should give it strong consideration. Not only can you see the latest in WebRTC solutions, but there is the added attraction of WebRTC University where you can receive three days of intensive training to become a certified WebRTC developer.  




Edited by Dominick Sorrentino

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