Why does blocsapp asset manager restrict asset types?

It seems bizarre that I can add a PDF to the project assets but not a word document.

It’s not that I am a fan of word documents, but why the filter?

I added a filter for commonly used web files. I don’t think word docs are commonly used online, however, PDF’s are.

Opening the filter out to anything may cause confusion. Some users may think, because I can add it to the asset manager, how do I display it on my page.

If you want to transfer a document as a download, just zip it, Blocs supports zip files. I’ve had issues with browser crapping their pants over some random file types, oh and zipping it saves on bandwidth :sunglasses:

It’s not so much what I want, but what the client wants. Zip files are great if the user understands how to handle them.

The client has supplied some legal documents in word format. I’m changing them to be PDF but this client likes things to be done their way.

I’m not sure why the filter is necessary - if we are confused by what we want to link to then we sure do have problems. I know what I want to link to and can’t. Which is the better situation?

It’s not a big deal - it’s just a barrier to work around that shouldn’t be there, others may agree that the current filter is a good idea.

You could also add the file via project attachments and then link to it using a url interaction, then you can use any file type.

Yes, I could, and would, but that’s not the point.

The point is - who should be deciding what is downloadable from a client’s web page? the client? Me? or Norm?

I’m not going to make a big deal of this but I wanted to ask the question. I understand the good intentions behind the filter, but I wish I could disable rather than get around it.

In this case the client may be happy with the PDF rather than insist on the word version that was supplied. The zip solution is inappropriate for joe public.

I don’t entirely agree that a web development application should automatically allow any file type to be added as an asset to a website. With almost 60,000 (and still counting) file extensions currently in use, where do you draw the line? The idea of websites is primarily to display content in a web browser, therefore, as long as web development apps can achieve this, its job is being done. The problem with downloadable files is that individual computers will attempt to open them rather than download them if an associated application is found on a users computer. With files such as word documents, this can be a dangerous option. Word and excel files are notorious for carrying malicious code. By opening such a document a users computer can easily get infected with something nasty, so it’s not the best practice to put a doc file on a server. Better to zip it up and put that online. At least users will have the option of scanning the download for malicious content before actually opening the thing. In fact, many browsers will do this automatically if the right security software is installed.

It should also be noted that many servers actually prohibit certain file types from being uploaded, just in case they contain malicious code that could affect the whole server. Better to only include file types that websites can display in a browser. All the rest should be zipped up which will automatically make them downloadable.


Agree. Potentially dangerous to download .doc or .docx files. Also customers will try to open them or the device will try to open them and result in a complaint that the web site doesn’t work correctly.

OK interesting points.

On the subject of dodgy files, wrapping up a dodgy file in a zip wrapper will still result in a dodgy file after it has been unwrapped, so that’s not a solution it’s passing the buck. It’s our (or at least our client’s) responsibility to be ensuring downloads are safe.

There may be 60,000 file types in use, but as a developer should my web design software be telling me which ones I can serve-up and link to?

As developers we can sometimes assume that joe public knows what a zip file is. A lot of people out there don’t.

[ edit: In case anyone imagines that I advocate that people use word documents for general communication on a web page in preference to other options like PDF - I don’t. In this case my client can be ‘robust’ in getting what they want and may well dig their heels in so I did consider offering both. It then made me think about the general idea that my design software is imposing restrictions on what it will allow me to do.

I am no fan of word files ( a lot of business people think everyone uses word or software that can read a word file ) - they just set me thinking because I saw the filter. ]

I understand your views, but again, it’s not really the responsibility of a web development app to decide which file types should be downloadable either. You, or your clients have the ability to include any download you like. Just add it as a normal link in your website and then add the file to the appropriate directory on your server.

I take the point about zip files not being a safe option. However, if anyone has a correctly configured anti malware or anti virus application, zip files will normally be scanned when you try to extract them. Doc files, however that are OPENED from a website may not get scanned until its already in the cache and the damage is done.

1 Like

I think that was the point I was making.

The barriers to (difficulty in) achieving a task is known as “friction”. In this case blocsapp is adding friction as a way of deterring a behaviour. That’s not good UX practice.

My thought is that the filter can be helpful, but there should be a way to disable it rather than make people’s life harder.

Maybe there should be a selectable filter that can be toggled between ‘approved’ file types and all file types.

I haven’t tried this, but lets say you were producing a website with tutorials on Photoshop. You might want to include PSD files to make use of layers and I’m guessing that may not be easily achievable here without putting files in a zipped archive.

I’ve also seen word doc files frequently available for download in more corporate areas as well as powerpoint or excel. For many people it’s the only thing they understand.

I don’t understand what’s the big issue here.

Just like @hendon52 said,

I have been doing this even before the file download interaction was added to Blocs. It’s very easy to do, and in some cases even easier than importing the files via the asset manager.

Me too. It’s just that the asset manager behaviour has broadened to make this easier for ‘approved’ file types but we can still do it the old-school way.

The old-school way is more involved than just linking to a file - we have to manually manage the linked to files and make sure they are put into the site distribution. The asset manager makes the whole process simpler.

It’s not so much about being unable to do it as blocsapp deliberately making it harder to do than it otherwise would be.

It’s not a big issue, but it’s an unnecessary issue… :wink:

1 Like