Welcome!

Welcome to the official BlackBerry Support Community Forums.

This is your resource to discuss support topics with your peers, and learn from each other.

inside custom component

Native Development

Reply
New Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-09-2012
My Device: Playbook
My Carrier: ATT

access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

[ Edited ]

We're creating a music app where users can record their music. We'd like to be able to save the music somewhere where users have access and can transfer the music to their computer, send through email, etc.

 

To do that we're using the access_shared permission. The problem is, when the app starts it shows the following Permissions dialog box:

 

"Allow the app to access your pictures, music, documents, and other files. This could potentially be used to share your personal data".

 

This text makes it sound like we could potentially be doing something harmful. We've had bad experiences with users not understanding permissions before (and giving low ratings) and the text in this dialog will likley make them think twice about using our application. We understand this is a common permission (ie. facebook app uses it, etc), but we don't think it's an option for us to use this permission with the text that's presented if it's going to detour users.

 

Is there another way we could save music to disk that'll allow them to have access? Is there an option to send files directly through e-mail? We don't need access to "pictures, music, documents, and other files" which the permission suggests. If there are no other ways, we'll have to leave this feature out of our app, but we'd love to keep it in.

 

Thanks!

 

 

Highlighted
Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

The text "makes it sound like we could potentially be doing something harmful", because that's exactly true.  The user needs to understand that when they grant that permission, they are putting their trust in you.

 

There is NO way to save files outside of your app sandbox without using this permission.

 

What you should probably do (as I've done in my Battery Guru app) is identify when the user has denied your app this permission, and present your own dialog to them with an explanation as to why they need it.  If you do this only when the time comes for them actually to save files outside the sandbox, then they have a chance to use your app and gain familiarity with it, and some degree of trust in you, before they have to enable the permission.

 

You can even have your app open the Settings at the correct page (well, close to it) from that dialog if you like, to make it relatively easy on them.

 

If you insist on not working within this framework, then you can certainly provide alternate means.  You could email the data somewhere, but you'd have to do this directly, yourself, or via a web service.  You could also just let them upload the data somewhere on your server, providing in effect "cloud storage" for your app.

 

Anyway, I think you're underestimating the users... I can't imagine there's a single PlayBook user out there who hasn't faced this dialog numerous times at this point and basically understands that not granting the permission may impact how the app runs.  Add an explanatory dialog inside your app and I don't think you'll have any problems.


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
New Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-09-2012
My Device: Playbook
My Carrier: ATT

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

Thanks for the great response Peter.

 

We're new to the Blackberry platform; so, much of our experience is coming from other platforms.

 

I guess the issue is that over time we've noticed that users have gained a hightened awareness about permissions (much more so than in the past) and many are quite vocal over permissions that access their private information. We understand that this permission is fairly common, but are also concerned on the impact it could have. We know that users should be informed about what permission are given, but it seems that the the access_shared permission may be too excessive. What we really need is a simple 'write' permission without the ability to read or something that lies in between being able to access all data and no data. Another option would be to allow developers to include a reason why they need such a permission in the permission dialog itself. Alternativley, not prompt the user until an event occurs that uses the permission. For example, if people don't record in our app, there's no reason that we'd need this permisson.

 

Unfortunately hosting content on a server is beyond our scope especially since we already offer direct save/share on other platforms.

 

Thanks again for the response; we'll have to consider the options.

 

 

 

Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

seths, some of the suggestions you have are ones we've made in the past, in other threads or in feature requests in the Jira issue tracker (there's a link to that in a "sticky" thread in this forum). Presumably those ideas are still under consideration by RIM, but it's always helpful to have more people chiming in about it.

If you feel like taking the time to search for the ticket (I don't recall which it is) you could "vote" on it to express support, or find whatever past thread it was where we discussed it.

Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
Developer
Posts: 6,473
Registered: ‎12-08-2010
My Device: PlayBook, Z10
My Carrier: none

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files


seths wrote:
We're new to the Blackberry platform; so, much of our experience is coming from other platforms.

It's probably also worth noting that the BlackBerry platform likely has differences, culturally and technically, from wherever you're coming. Not only does RIM apparently do some sort of extra review for security concerns for the apps we submit (but they've never actually said what they do, so who really knows?), but also in general there's far less malware or any other kind of troublesome software.  As a result, users are probably much less concerned about seeing dialogs like that, and it's less likely they'll feel greatly concerned about what your app may do as a result.

 

I do wish RIM would describe in at least cursory fashion the nature of their security checks, since that would let us as developers understand the extent to which they're protecting our users from malicious developers, which would help us understand the whole ecosystem better and improve usability for the users. It seems unlikely that will happen, however... at least based on past history.


Peter Hansen -- (BB10 and dev-related blog posts at http://peterhansen.ca.)
Author of White Noise and Battery Guru for BB10 and for PlayBook | Get more from your battery!
New Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-09-2012
My Device: Playbook
My Carrier: ATT

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

Thanks Peter, we'll definately have a search for the ticket and make sure to support it.

 

I agree and you're probably right that there's differences in the BlackBerry community vs. others. In the past we've released things with higher permissions thinking users wouldn't mind since we were only using the permissions to help them with features they wanted. However, we soon found that seeing the permission alone was enough to detour them. We just don't want to make the same mistake here especially since we're not as familiar with the BlackBerry community.

 

The recording aspect of our app isn't an essential feature, but it does provide a greater experience. So we'll have to decide if we go with it for now or leave it out at first after we get a better understanding of the community.

 

 

Developer
Posts: 1,280
Registered: ‎03-03-2011
My Device: Playbook, Z10, Q10, Z30 with Files & Folders and Orbit of course
My Carrier: Vodafone

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

This is the similar to the Android "access SD card" permission. On IOS there is no such thing as a shared file system, so it's mostly irrelevant there.

 

You could take a look at a cloud service such as SoundCloud, if you really don't want the dialog to appear. But I wouldn't worry too much. Just make sure you epxlain the reason for requesting permission in the description of your app. And gracefully handle permission denial as Peter noted above.

Files & Folders, the unified file & cloud manager for PlayBook and BB10 with SkyDrive, SugarSync, Box, Dropbox, Google Drive, Google Docs. Free 3-day trial! - Jon Webb - Innovatology - Utrecht, Netherlands
New Contributor
Posts: 8
Registered: ‎04-09-2012
My Device: Playbook
My Carrier: ATT

Re: access_shared permission misleading and how to save/share files

Thanks for the insight.

 

I guess if it's similar to "access SD card" on Android it's not that bad. We have SoundCloud integration on our other platforms. We'll have to see if they have a c/c++ api that works on Playbook.

 

I think if we do as mentioned and explain in the description the need for extra permissions it may not be as bad.

 

Thanks again!