Progress Events

W3C Candidate Recommendation 22 September 2011

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Anne van Kesteren (Opera Software) <annevk@opera.com>
Former Editor:
Charles McCathieNevile (Opera Software) <chaals@opera.com>


The Progress Events specification defines an event interface that can be used for measuring progress; e.g. HTTP entity body transfers. This specification is primarily meant to be used by other specifications.

Status of this Document

This section describes the status of this document at the time of its publication. Other documents may supersede this document. A list of current W3C publications and the latest revision of this technical report can be found in the W3C technical reports index at http://www.w3.org/TR/.

This is the 22 September 2011 W3C Candidate Recommendation of Progress Events. Please send comments to public-webapps@w3.org (archived) with [progress-events] at the start of the subject line.

This document is produced by the Web Applications (WebApps) Working Group. The WebApps Working Group is part of the Rich Web Clients Activity in the W3C Interaction Domain.

This document was produced by a group operating under the 5 February 2004 W3C Patent Policy. W3C maintains a public list of any patent disclosures made in connection with the deliverables of the group; that page also includes instructions for disclosing a patent. An individual who has actual knowledge of a patent which the individual believes contains Essential Claim(s) must disclose the information in accordance with section 6 of the W3C Patent Policy.

Publication as a Working Draft does not imply endorsement by the W3C Membership. This is a draft document and may be updated, replaced or obsoleted by other documents at any time. It is inappropriate to cite this document as other than work in progress.

Candidate Recommendation Exit Criteria

To exit the Candidate Recommendation (CR) stage the following criteria must have been met:

  1. There will be at least two interoperable implementations passing all test cases in the test suite for this specification. An implementation is to be available (i.e. for download), shipping (i.e. not private), and not experimental (i.e. intended for a wide audience). The working group will decide when the test suite is of sufficient quality to test interoperability and will produce implementation reports (hosted together with the test suite).
  2. A minimum of three months of the CR stage will have elapsed (i.e. not until after 22 December 2011). This is to ensure that enough time is given for any remaining major errors to be caught. The CR period will be extended if implementations are slow to appear.

Table of Contents

  1. 1 Introduction
  2. 2 Conformance
  3. 3 Terminology
  4. 4 Interface ProgressEvent
    1. 4.1 Firing events using the ProgressEvent interface for HTTP
    2. 4.2 Firing events using the ProgressEvent interface for other contexts
    3. 4.3 Suggested names for events using the ProgressEvent interface
    4. 4.4 Security Considerations
  5. References
    1. Normative references
    2. Informative references
  6. Acknowledgments

1 Introduction

This section is non-normative.

This specification defines an event interface — ProgressEvent — that can be used for measuring progress. Other specifications use this specification for that purpose.

In this example XMLHttpRequest, combined with concepts defined in this specification, and the HTML progress element are used together to display the process of fetching a resource. [XHR] [HTML]

<!DOCTYPE html>
<title>Waiting for Magical Unicorns</title>
<progress id=p></progress>
  var progressBar = document.getElementById("p"),
      client = new XMLHttpRequest()
  client.open("GET", "magical-unicorns")
  client.onprogress = function(pe) {
    if(pe.lengthComputable) {
      progressBar.max = pe.total
      progressBar.value = pe.loaded
  client.onloadend = function(pe) {
    progressBar.value = pe.loaded

Fully working code would of course be more elaborate and deal with more scenarios, such as network errors or the end user terminating the request.

2 Conformance

Everything in this specification is normative except for diagrams, examples, notes and sections marked non-normative.

The key word must in this document is to be interpreted as described in RFC 2119. [RFC2119]

A user agent must also be a conforming implementation of the IDL fragments in this specification, as described in the Web IDL specification. [WEBIDL]

A user agent must also be a conforming implementation of DOM4. [DOM]

3 Terminology

Terminology used in this specification is from DOM4 and HTTP. [DOM] [HTTP]

4 Interface ProgressEvent

[Constructor(DOMString type, optional ProgressEventInit eventInitDict)]
interface ProgressEvent : Event {
  readonly attribute boolean lengthComputable;
  readonly attribute unsigned long long loaded;
  readonly attribute unsigned long long total;

dictionary ProgressEventInit : EventInit {
  boolean lengthComputable;
  unsigned long long loaded;
  unsigned long long total;

Events using the ProgressEvent interface indicate some kind of progression.

The lengthComputable attribute must return the value it was initialized to. When an event is created the attribute must be initialized to false.

The loaded and total attributes must return the value they were initialized to. When an event is created the attributes must be initialized to 0.

4.1 Firing events using the ProgressEvent interface for HTTP

To fire a progress event named e means to fire an event named e with an event using the ProgressEvent interface that also meets these conditions:

This definition can be used by other specifications. XMLHttpRequest does this for instance. [XHR]

4.2 Firing events using the ProgressEvent interface for other contexts

This is left as an exercise for the editor of the specification that introduces such a context. The editor is encouraged to define it in a way consistent with this and other specifications that utilize events using the ProgressEvent interface.

4.3 Suggested names for events using the ProgressEvent interface

This section is non-normative.

The suggested type attribute values for use with events using the ProgressEvent interface are summarized in the table below. Specification editors are free to tune the details to their specific scenarios, though are strongly encouraged to discuss their usage with the W3C WebApps Working Group on public-webapps@w3.org to ensure input from people familiar with the subject.

type attribute value Description Times When
loadstart Progress has begun. Once. First.
progress In progress. Zero or more. After loadstart has been dispatched.
error Progression failed. Zero or once. After the last progress has been dispatched, or after loadstart has been dispatched if progress has not been dispatched.
abort Progression is terminated. Zero or once.
load Progression is successful. Zero or once.
loadend Progress has stopped. Once. After one of error, abort, or load has been dispatched.

The error, abort, and load event types are mutually exclusive.

Throughout the web platform the error, abort, and load event types have their bubbles and cancelable attributes initialized to false, so it is suggested that for consistency all events using the ProgressEvent interface do the same.

4.4 Security Considerations

For cross-origin requests some kind of opt-in, e.g. Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, has to be used before events using the ProgressEvent interface are dispatched as information (e.g. size) would be revealed that cannot be obtained otherwise. [CORS]


Normative references

DOM4, Anne van Kesteren, Aryeh Gregor and Ms2ger. W3C.
Hypertext Transfer Protocol -- HTTP/1.1, Roy Fielding, James Gettys, Jeffrey Mogul et al.. IETF.
Key words for use in RFCs to Indicate Requirement Levels, Scott Bradner. IETF.
Web IDL, Cameron McCormack. W3C.

Informative references

Cross-Origin Resource Sharing, Anne van Kesteren. W3C.
HTML5, Ian Hickson. W3C.
XMLHttpRequest Level 2, Anne van Kesteren. W3C.


The editor would like to thank Aaron Leventhal, Alan Schepers, Alex Danilo, Andrew Emmons, Andrew Shellshear, Andy Sledd, Arthur Barstow, Björn Höhrmann, Boris Zbarsky, Cameron McCormack, Chris Lilley, Cyril Concolato, David Håsäther, Doug Schepers, Ellen Siegel, Erik Dahlström, Garrett Smith, Gorm Eriksen, Gottfried Zimmermann, Ian Hickson, Jean-Claude Duford, Jean-Yves Bitterlich, Jim Ley, João Eiras, Kartikaya Gupta, Lisa Seeman, Maciej Stachowiak, Marcos Caceres, Michael Antony Puls, Nandini Ramani, Olli Pettay, Philip Jägenstedt, Ralph Swick, Rich Schwerdtfeger, Robert Sayre, Robin Berjon, Simon Pieters, Suresh Chitturi, and Travis Leithead for their contributions to this specification.

Special thanks to the SVG WG for drafting the original ProgressEvent interface as part of the SVG Micro DOM.

Thanks also to all those who have helped to improve this specification by sending suggestions and corrections. (Please, keep bugging us with your issues!)