File System Access API delivered in Chrome 86: File access via web app

The File System Access API is ready: The API developed in Project Fugu bridges another part of the platform gap between native applications and browser-based apps. As the name suggests, it can be used to access the native file system. Chrome 86 delivers the API and thus enables completely new types of application.

The File System Access API is ready and was finally delivered with Chrome 86. This is a Fugu API that was developed in the project of the same name. Project Fugu is working to close the gap between native applications and browser apps. The browser should have access to native interfaces; the API that has now been delivered enables access to the native file system from the browser.

File System Access API: Native access for web applications

Two major goals were defined for the File System Access API: Desktop applications such as AutoCAD or Visual Studio Code should also work on the web in the future. For this purpose, a possibility had to be created to import existing files and further edit them in a web application so that seamless integration of both platforms is possible. The same applies to web applications such as GSuite, whose files can be transferred just as seamlessly into desktop applications via the new API; this orientation was the second goal. The File System Access API should also make it possible to make web applications the standard handler for file formats that could previously only be opened in desktop applications.

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The File System Access API naturally also expands the possibilities of progressive web apps. So far, a framework such as Cordova or Electron had to be used for some of the named accesses to native file systems; Native access from Chrome can now take place. Cordova and Electron apps still represented a parallel structure that is no longer necessary at this point. However, file system access via the new API remains limited. For security reasons, no system directories can be read; write access also requires active consent.

More information on the File System Access API, which was originally supposed to be called the “Native File System API” but has been renamed, can be found in the blog post on the release of Chrome 86. Christian Liebel, contributor to Project Fugu, also presented the API in a specialist article. Thomas Steiner and Pete LePage provide a comprehensive overview. The API Tracker gives an overview of the Fugu APIs .

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