Thursday, May 31, 2007

Google Gears

Just today I've seen this link on reddit. and I'm very excited about this. Remember an earlier post about off-line web applications Well, they're closer than ever. Google released Gears, which is a Firefox/IE extension that provides an API for off-line web applications.

On the developer page, google posted 4 demos showing off their API.
  • the first one shows how an offline database can be used to keep track of stuff on the client side, without it going away the second time you visit that webpage
  • the second demo shows how google gears can remember an webpage and display it even when you are offline and the cache is emptied
  • I didn't understand the usefulness of the third demo, but I'm sure there are scenarios which use it
  • the last demo is about asynchronous methods, but I'm not sure this belongs in gears.
I am very excited about Gears, as it seems to work for both Microsoft Internet Explorer and Mozilla Firefox. Google says Safari support is work in progress.

For the moment, I'm quite busy with my thesis, but I'm dying to get my code snippet web application to use Gears.

Also, I can't wait to see a geared up version of Blogger and Gmail. Imagine preparing your posts without the need to access the internet and saving them to the local database. Next time you go online, Blogger will upload whatever you've been working on. Sounds cool, right?

I like Gears because the API seems simple enough and is super useful. However, in the long term, Gears (or whatever other framework for off-line web apps will prevail) will make web applications even more difficult to create. Also, I suppose a whole new range of security issues will be uncovered by this new type of applications.

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