Needs feedback: Work on new "intents" spec

Jerome Leclanche adys.wh at
Fri Mar 16 15:37:16 PDT 2012

On Fri, Mar 16, 2012 at 9:51 PM, François Revol <revol at> wrote:

> Hi,
> On -10/01/-28163 20:59, Jerome Leclanche wrote:
> > Good evening list
> >
> > During the past couple of weeks, I've been working on a spec for intents
> > (best name I could come up with).
> >
> > Intents are a way for applications to programatically describe what
> > functions they are able to fulfill. They go hand-in-hand with MIME types,
> > which describe on what type of content they are able to fulfill such
> > functions.
> > For example, while eog and Gimp may register the same MIME types, Gimp
> > would have an "Image Editor" intent, while eog would have an "Image
> Viewer"
> > intent.
> Wow, that's an interesting idea...
> that BeOS implemented 15y ago :D
> It was called "suites" at the time, and yes, already included in the
> MIME types namespace.
> However it was mostly used for inter-app scripting at runtime.
> cf.
> The API also included "verbs" however the only one ever defined was
> B_OPEN. From your description it's probably more what you meant.
> Sadly it was never used much, despite its great potential.
> The android "intents" are just yet another iteration on the idea.
> Haiku still uses the BeOS scripting API.
> François.

Hi François

Thanks for the links, I didn't know about BeOS' suites. It's a really cool
idea, having the logic within applications themselves. I especially liked
that bit:
"Scripting suite names look like MIME filetypes (like
"suite/vnd.Be-control"), but they aren't. Suite names are completely
internal to BeOS, and the fact that they look like MIME types is just a
geeky detail."

It makes me want to go with the second intent/* syntax.
After discussing it with a few people on irc, the category idea kind of
stuck; eg instead of ImageEditor, you would have Image.Editor, Image.Viewer.

Another point that turned up was: do we need metadata for each intent (like
mime types have: names, comments). I don't think we do, it would be up to
the application to say "Image editor", but i thought it was worth bringing

If there are no major comments/changes/obvious misses, I will begin writing
a spec over the next few weeks, as I'm unsure how much time I have, and
will post back once it's done. I would love to get some advice on the
process to propose a spec and get it accepted.

J. Leclanche
-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <>

More information about the xdg mailing list