HTML5 Experiment: Drag & Drop of Folders

von Christopher Blum

At protonet we’re working on bringing a rich file manager to the web that has a similar look and feel like the Windows Explorer or the Finder in OS X. An essential part of this is the experience of uploading files from the Desktop via drag & drop. There’s already a well supported HTML5 API available that allows such interactions.

The problem with this API is that it offers no solution on how to deal with folders. When a user drops a folder he expects it (and all contained files) to be uploaded.

How it’s working

Chrome v21 comes with a new method on the DataTransferItem object which returns the dropped file/folder as a file system entry. Using the file system api those entries can be accessed and traversed.

Here’s a simple script that recursively loops through all the dropped files and folders:

Code

More details about Chrome’s Drag and Drop Entries.

Demo & Open Source

Since we’re using the plupload library to handle upload functionality we submitted a pull request that enables folder support. A demo using plupload can be found here.

Also check this screen cast showing how we integrated this feature into protonet:

Folder Upload via HTML5 Drag & Drop in protonet

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