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Google Gears Released

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Google gears allows online applications (like Google Reader) to have offline capability. With Reader you click a ‘go offline’ icon, which downloads your 2000 most recent unread RSS items so that you can read them without Internet connectivity. For Mac users a Firefox plugin is needed while Windows users need to install a program. In either environment, Gears allows users to stay at home in the browser, which is one of the biggest gripes with some of the other offline frameworks.

Currently, no solid well used framework for offline web applications exists. A few frameworks exist, but the arena is largely untouched. As the difference between desktop and web application continue to blur we’ll see other offline frameworks become available, but Gears looks like a solid platform since it provides offline capability regardless of the development language and browser usage. Pushing integration even more TechCrunch writes that “They (Google) are also collaborating with a host of other partners such as Opera, Mozilla, and Adobe, which will to integrate flash and Apollo into their system.” With that kind of support, I’m sure it won’t be long before we hear clients asking for Gears integration.

Gears weaves together a local server, a local database, and a worker pool all through a Javascript API. The server is Javascript and acts as a factory and container for resources. The database is SQLite, which is a “self-contained, embeddable, zero-configuration SQL database engine” that has a solid reputation for reliability. The worker pool acts like a bunch of processes and can pass data types by using JSON. If you want to know more, Google provides a quick tutorial and some documentation for developers and even a few pointers for synchronization.


Written by syntatic

May 31, 2007 at 3:45 am

Posted in google