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Thursday, July 21, 2011

Firefox Security and file:/// URLs cause problems when testing HTML5

I'm experimenting with some of the great features in HTML5 and specifically with Web Storage. The way I typically try out things like this is to write a simple HTML page with the relevant JavaScript and CSS code and then open that in the browser.

With my Web Storage example, things work great in Chrome and Safari but nothing happens in Firefox 5 on the Mac - even though I know the browser supports this feature.

The issue lies in the security model behind Firefox. It is quite restrictive in what it will let you do with file:/// urls. The intention is to avoid any chance of a remote page being able to access a local file.

That is fine, but there is no obvious alert or notification that Firefox is doing this - instead your code just doesn't work. If I hadn't run it on Chrome first, my reaction would have been to question my own code.

So bear that in mind if you work the same way that I do - perhaps use Chrome as your first choice for development - and if something simple doesn't work, try it in a different browser before questioning your own code.

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