Gear For Offline

One of the most pressing issues with the new Web applications is connectivity. If not connected, the browser is nothing but a useless window. One of the solutions is to take the Web applications offline, which Google has given big push by releasing Google Gears. Still in beta, it is an open source browser extension that can help you take Web applications offline. It works in all modern browsers, making it globally accessible and available.

Something inline with what was announced for Firefox 3.0. Not surprisingly, Mozilla is part of this collaborated effort, along with Adobe and Opera. Apollo seems to be the point of interest for Adobe in this.

Google Gears makes you host by bringing with it a local web server, a local database (SQLite) and worker thread pool to be able to perform expensive activities in the background along with the JavaScript APIs.

There are already some implementations done – offline Google Reader will be available shortly and Dion Almaer has already geared RSS Bling offline. Dion also notes that Dojo Offline has already started using Gears as a platform.

A very interesting development, even though I will like to live outside the browser. This can bring Microsoft in a challenging position, since this makes many Web applications more accessible now, especially the online office suites. One thing to note would be performance. Firefox is already burdened with many many addons, will this make the browser usable? This is still beta, but the concept has a lot of potential and I feel we have lot to see yet.

Discussion [Participate or Link]

  1. Google Gears - Offline Functionality for Web Apps » Bin-Blog said:

    […] Gears for Offline […]

  2. Google Gears for Offline Browsing said:

    […] your immediate attention but the time you take to check it disrupts your flow and chain of thought. Abhijit also asks if loading up your already-juiced-with-add-ons Firefox browsers with another plugin is worth […]

  3. Ryan said:

    Personally, I don’t get the offline problem. I don’t think it’s worth it to build applications to run offline, because I think that in a year or less, there will be no “offline”. And besides, sometimes it’s nice to just take a break from being online all the time.

  4. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    Ryan, I beg to differ with you slightly, I feel that offline will be there. It is only a certain userbase that can afford to stay connected always. I think everything will not migrated to online so easily.

    Secondly I don’t think that Web is the answer to everything. I think smart clients or webified clients provide higher value and better solution in some cases. The biggest rant I have is that we are trying to fit every application within the browser, when we have the ability to provide better solutions.

    Having said that I think Google Gears are still good, there are some class of applications which can benefit from this.

  5. Lorelle said:

    I am SO thrilled to see attention being paid to those who don’t live on the web 24/7. I travel a lot, often begging and borrowing WIFI from any spot I can. With the growing trend towards everything online, I have lived in fear that those who need to work on their computer and not consume bandwidth just to write a letter or edit a photograph would suffer. Like me.

    Remember, everything you do online goes through a pipeline. The more that pipeline is filled with time wasting, useless junk, then the slower it is for everyone. Imagine how fast our connections would be if email and blog spam was totally shut down and eliminated! With everyone doing mundane work on the web when they could be using their own computers without tying up the web lines, we keep open what little bandwidth is left.

    I’m all for offline apps, and always have been.

  6. Abhijit Nadgouda said:

    I think we are taking a lot of things for granted when we say that online only is the future. Online sure is flourishing, but it does not mean that offline is gone. I think we are shuffling to use the right option for the right task.

  7. Reclaim Your Thunderbird | iface thoughts said:

    […] and saved searches enhance usability and offline accessibility is still a need. Of course there is Google Gears which might make Gmail accessible offline, but this is all about Google, leaving lesser options for […]

  8. Simon Bouchard’s Blog » Blog Archive » Reclaim Your Thunderbird said:

    […] and saved searches enhance usability and offline accessibility is still a need. Of course there is Google Gears which might make Gmail accessible offline, but this is all about Google, leaving lesser options for […]

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Abhijit Nadgouda
iface Consulting
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