Copy and paste is a core function of any application. I spend most of my day working between multiple browser tabs or multiple native applications, copying and pasting the results from one app into the other. Copy/Paste is the “pipe” for the GUI generation.
I love how I can copy and paste complicated multimedia objects in between native applications. If I want to copy a blog post with images out of a text editor into a blog authoring tool, I can do that fairly easily. Or pulling the output of a spreadsheet into the body of an email is a simple copy/paste.
But, the same copy/paste interoperability has yet to arrive in web applications. If I want to copy and paste three friends from Facebook into my Twitter account, that should be a simple process. Or how about copy/pasting a song from a music blog over into my Facebook feed. Native apps riding on top of the OS are able to handle the copy/pasting of complicated objects like this, so why can’t I do this in web apps yet?
The web interim hack of copy/pasting between apps is to toss around permalinks and other text content which could be used to search for more complicated objects. But, I feel like we’re at a point in the maturity of the web that tossing around URLs to copy/past objects like this should be handled by a layer of abstraction. Why do I need to hunt for the permalink button or “share this” button on a site? Copy/paste across the web should be linked up to keyboard shortcuts and work natively across all web apps.
I suspect my pipe dream (pun intended) of copy/pasting complicated objects across web apps will require cooperation around standards across corporations. This seems ripe for the W3C to tackle. If not them, then who?