Googlers Post Unofficial Draft for WebUSB API

Over on GitHub, two Googlers – Reilly Grant and Ken Rockot – have published an unofficial draft describing the WebUSB API for direct access to USB devices from web pages. It’s considered a public working draft of a potential specification as it has no official standing whatsoever and doesn’t represent broader support of any standards.

The draft gets into security and privacy considerations as well as descriptors and requests, and device enumeration and usage (transfers, configurations, interfaces, and endpoints).

“The Universal Serial Bus (USB) is the de-facto standard for wired peripherals. Most USB devices implement one of roughly a dozen standard ‘device classes’ which specify a way for the device to advertise the features it supports and commands and data formats for using those features,”  the paper’s intro explains. “Standard device classes include keyboard, mice, audio, video and storage devices. Operating systems support such devices using the “class driver” provided by the OS vendor. There is however a long tail of devices that do not fit into one of the standardized device classes. These devices require hardware vendors to write native drivers and SDKs in order for developers to take advantage of them and this native code prevents these devices from being used by the web.”

“The WebUSB API provides a way to safely expose USB device services to the web,” it continues. “It provides an API familiar to developers who have used existing native USB libraries and exposes the device interfaces defined by existing specifications. With this API hardware manufacturers will have the ability to build cross-platform JavaScript SDKs for their devices. This will be good for the web because, instead of waiting for a new kind of device to be popular enough for browsers to provide a specific API, new and innovative hardware can be built for the web from day one.”

You can browse the whole 6-part document here. It will be interesting to see how the project progresses and if it picks up significant support.

Via SoftPedia

By Chris Crum

Chris Crum is a staff writer and content coordinator for iEntry.

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