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Google Phasing Out Gears For HTML5

timothy posted more than 4 years ago | from the toothless-grin dept.

Programming 35

Kelson writes "Have you noticed that there haven't been many updates to Gears in a while? That's because Google has decided to focus instead on similar capabilities in the emerging HTML5 standard: local storage, database, workers and location cover similar functionality, but natively in the web browser. Of course, since Gears and HTML APIs aren't exactly the same, it's not a simple drop-in replacement, so they'll continue supporting the current version of Gears in Firefox and Internet Explorer. I guess this means the long-anticipated Gears support for 64-bit Firefox on Linux and Opera are moot."

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Support not ending for IE (4, Insightful)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208108)

This just goes to show how much IE is holding us back. According to the Blog post, Google won't be dropping Gears' maintenance support for IE for the foreseen future:

We will not be investing resources in active development of new features. Likewise, there are some platforms that would require a significant engineering effort to support due to large architectural changes. Specifically, we cannot support Gears in Safari on OS X Snow Leopard and later. Support for Gears in Firefox (including 3.6, which will be supported shortly) and Internet Explorer will continue.

I'm guessing they'll want that around as a fall back for IE when they start depending more and more on HTML5's new features.

Had IE been keeping up with HTML5's development, we wouldn't be in a situation where we need external plug-ins to make sure our Apps are cross-platform.

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

Twigmon (1095941) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208132)

Yeah, IE really is screwing us all around. It will all work out though, chromeframe might end up being the gears replacement ;)

Meanwhile, it will be very very good when google finally enables html5 stuff for docs.google.com and gmail. I use prerelease browsers and gears just doesn't work for me anyway. Looking forward to that part of the future!

Re:Support not ending for IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208170)

I wonder what the percentage of IE6 users is at these days.

Every website I've put together has taken at least several additional hours of effort and testing to modify a design that works perfectly in all modern browsers so that it doesn't turn to garbage on IE6. Just an obnoxious situation to have to continually deal with, and I've already stopped bothering on my personal site, but how long will it take until it becomes appropriate for meaningful websites to follow suit?

Re:Support not ending for IE (3, Interesting)

the_womble (580291) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208506)

My money making site, which most people read from work, is getting 18% IE 6 - almost as much as Firefox and not far behind IE 7 or IE 8, and a lot more than Chrome, Safari or Opera.

My blog traffic is 48% Firefox, with IE6 down to less than 2%.

It depends on your audience.

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

Mad Merlin (837387) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208902)

It depends on your audience.

Very much so. On one hand, we have large (>10k people) north american companies where IE6 + IE7 is over 90% of the usage (both scary and sad). At the other end of the spectrum, we have Game! [wittyrpg.com] users, where Firefox is around 60%, IE6 is less than 5% and Chrome and Opera divvy up most of the rest.

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

fly1ngtux (1504905) | more than 4 years ago | (#31216124)

I doubt even if audience were using 60 or 70% Firefox, the site will ever add a feature that is not IE compatible. Unless the total number of users using IE comes to a bare minimum, admins won't really dare to stop supporting IE. Also, all these site based statistics gathering and acting upon that is possible after the site is set up. Will you plan for a Firefox only site if you are building a site fresh? How many admins will take the pain of gathering information on browser statistics for sites similar to the ones they are going to build and then decide that they will do a IE/Firefox site only?

Re:Support not ending for IE (3, Funny)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208216)

"This just goes to show how much IE is holding us back

I work for a small DNA services company and that is a burgeoning industry. We are pretty young but we match the advancing industry with our own very aggressive, but smart style.

One of our young team in a meeting the other day, said in regard to a particular DNA trait technology: "Let come down off the top rope with an elbow to the throat of {our competitor}. They are like the Internet Explorer of DNA. Lets fuck 'em up.".

I do like our meetings. But yeah, if we were google, we wouldnt be able to hold back our your pit bulls. And I bet Google have a few that are chewing their chains to hit MS and Flash with HTML 5. Off the top rope so to speak.

Re:Support not ending for IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208238)

Way to ignore Firefox there.

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208246)

Way to ignore Firefox there.

Support for Gears in Firefox (including 3.6, which will be supported shortly ) and Internet Explorer will continue.

Re:Support not ending for IE (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31209116)

Really eihab? Because even at 3am in the morning the GP post wasn't that hard to follow.

GGP say, "IE is holding us back as demonstrated by the fact that google isn't droping gears support for it." GGP completely ignores the fact that Google isn't dropping gears support for Firefox either (even though he quoted it). So is Firefox holding us back too? Or is the GGP just talking out of his ass? I'll leave that as an exercise for the reader.

Re:Support not ending for IE (0, Troll)

daveime (1253762) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208458)

Wow, just fucking wow.

Years ago, when MS was making advances in IE4, and NS sucked balls and couldn't keep up, MS were the bad guys for "jumping the gun", and not following standards.

Nowadays, when the other browsers are ahead, and MS has fallen behind, MS are the bad guys for "not keeping up", even though the standard in question is not yet finalized, and won't be for the foreseeable future.

Some of you are more than just shills, you are religious fanatics.

Re:Support not ending for IE (5, Insightful)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208644)

There's a difference between implementing proposed components [ibm.com] of yet-to-be-gold standards or specifications and implementing whatever the hell you feel like [wikipedia.org] and expecting everyone else to conform. You can see that, can't you?

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

koiransuklaa (1502579) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209470)

Some people are not able to see the big picture or recognise shades of gray, that's true. Your comments on the browser issue seem to put you in that group.

To be more specific, there is nothing illogical in thinking that Microsoft did try to extinguish the web earlier with their proprietary technologies and have later been dragging their feet in implementing new features that could be available to all browser manufacturers (standards or not). Notice the trend? MS-only features: Microsoft is interested. Common features: Microsoft is not interested.

The above is not only possible but a very, very logical thing for a company to do in the situation they were in (monopoly, customers who didn't know better): a sound business decision in other words. Does believing the above make me a shill or a religious fanatic?

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#31210998)

Finalised is not a binary thing for HTML 5. If you bother to read the standard, you will see that individual parts of it are marked as being at different levels of standardisation. Things only reach the final stage once there are two independent implementations of them. At this point, several parts of HTML5 are final, while other parts are in the design phase. With Gecko, WebKit and Presto all working to provide implementations, it's entirely possible that parts of HTML5 can get to the final stage without any IE implementation.

It's also worth noting that one of the design goals for HTML5 is the ability to support it on older browsers with a combination of plugins, CSS and JavaScript. It's a shame that Google is continuing to develop Gears as-is for IE6/7 and not moving it towards being an HTML5 shim for these browsers.

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

theshowmecanuck (703852) | more than 4 years ago | (#31213162)

I am all for HTML 5 and it replacing the hodgepodge of crap out there to mitigate the usecase gaps in HTML 4. However I wouldn't blame MS for this quite yet. The W3C was supposed to come out with something conclusive by now. Sure we have a good idea of what will be in HTML 5, but a good idea and a couple of dollars might get you a cup coffee at Starbucks. i.e. good ideas disappear out of final specs and products all the time. Why should MS redesign things to accommodate features that may not even make it into the final spec or even recommendation? It costs money to write and then rewrite code. Meanwhile they have something that is meeting its needs right now. So I say the W3C should shit or get off the pot before people start playing the blame game. If MS still screws around once something better than a 'draft' version is released, then fine. Until then...

Re:Support not ending for IE (1)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31214372)

However I wouldn't blame MS for this quite yet. The W3C was supposed to come out with something conclusive by now. Sure we have a good idea of what will be in HTML 5, but a good idea and a couple of dollars might get you a cup coffee at Starbucks. i.e. good ideas disappear out of final specs and products all the time.

But see, web standards (or at least HTML5's) are really based on what browser vendors and content producers are doing right now.

The process roughly goes like this:
- Someone throws and idea on the mailing list and maybe a demo/implementation
- People argue back and forth
- Someone possibly comes up with a better solution that satisfies some other vendor
- More bitching and moaning
- Some consensus/compromise is reached with a few implementations of it already in browsers and it becomes part of the standard

No one sits around dreaming up what HTML should be like and then dictate that to all the browser vendors as the ultimate implementation, it's totally the other way around.

This is basically why we had the Ogg Theora vs. H.264 war going on. Apple and Google went with (that is, implemented) H.264 while Mozilla went with Ogg Theora. What ended up happening was the codec specification was dropped from the spec because a consensus could not be reached between all parties involved.

MS needs to get off of its high horse and start implementing and suggesting features _today_, they can argue the merits of the spec all they want but they have one of two options, be a road block and passively ignore the discussion or take the community head-on, actively engage them and offer superior solutions.

Chris Wilson from Microsoft wrote an essay on the mailing list arguing the dropping of the version number in HTML5. I agree with him that we need a version in there, but his argument is coming from the wrong reasons (not wanting to break lousy IE specific hacked websites).

Here's a link to that essay [w3.org] , take a look and count how many times he said "the market leader" in there.

Glad I didn't skill up on gears (3, Informative)

symbolset (646467) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208134)

W3.org, though, they've got some serious heft in web standards. It probably would not do to ignore their new standard version unless you're Microsoft, in which case interop is a negative and ignoring the new standard is an implied part of "ignore standards".

ADHD? (4, Funny)

pitchpipe (708843) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208140)

I know that it's good to for a corporation to explore new avenues, but sometimes I get the feeling that Google has ADHD.

Re:ADHD? (5, Interesting)

Ethanol-fueled (1125189) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208212)

Agility is not a defecit of attention. They're quicker than other big tech to catch on, ballsy enough to take risks, savvy enough to remain a powerhouse, and honest/polite enough to alert users of a change of direction.

Or Google could be utter crap. But crappier and less trustworthy competition makes Google look like Robin Hoods and all-stars in comparison.

Re:ADHD? (1)

voodoo cheesecake (1071228) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208282)

At least they don't give us the bescumbering that microsoft does.

Standards are great.... (1, Interesting)

electrosoccertux (874415) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208144)

But honestly I hope they are actively evaluating the standards. Just because it's a "standard" doesn't mean it's good and worth using.

Re:Standards are great.... (4, Informative)

eihab (823648) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208288)

But honestly I hope they are actively evaluating the standards. Just because it's a "standard" doesn't mean it's good and worth using.

Evaluating? They're effectively making it.

Ian Hickson [wikipedia.org] , the author and maintainer of HTML5, is a Google employee.

Not that this is a bad thing, I mean, I'm very excited about some of the stuff (like background workers) that are basically Google's finger print on the draft. But make no mistake about it, they are evaluating it very well as they're writing it :)

Looking forward to it... (2, Interesting)

afabbro (33948) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208166)

...so I take it that gears will be phased out when HTML5 arrives in 2022 [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Looking forward to it... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208346)

Maybe you should read the explanation for that date in context -- http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/FAQ#When_will_HTML5_be_finished.3F

Re:Looking forward to it... (1)

R.Mo_Robert (737913) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208500)

Hixie might not expect it to be "finished" until 2022, but, to paraphrase him, "finished" is a big deal, and you'll be able to use it before then.

Re:Looking forward to it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208624)

http://wiki.whatwg.org/wiki/FAQ#When_will_HTML5_be_finished.3F [whatwg.org]

It is estimated, again by the editor, that HTML5 will reach a W3C recommendation in the year 2022 or later. This will be approximately 18-20 years of development, since beginning in mid-2004. That's actually not that crazy, though. Work on HTML4 started in the mid 90s, and HTML4 still, more than ten years later, hasn't reached the level that we want to reach with HTML5. There is no real test suite, there are many parts of the spec that are lacking real implementations, there are big parts that aren't interoperable, and the spec has hundreds if not thousands of known errors that haven't been fixed. When HTML4 came out, REC meant something much less exciting than it does now.

Dupe? (4, Informative)

grouchomarxist (127479) | more than 4 years ago | (#31208366)

Isn't this article a dupe of this one: http://tech.slashdot.org/story/09/12/02/139243/Google-Abandoning-Gears [slashdot.org] ?

Re:Dupe? (1)

D Ninja (825055) | more than 4 years ago | (#31210008)

Dear grouchomarxist,

Hello. I would say that you must be new here to Slashdot, but looking at your low, six-digit ID number, that is obviously not true. So, I must assume it has been quite some time since you have logged in given your surprise at a duplicated story on Slashdot. See, here at Slashdot, we believe that a story isn't a story until it's been posted two, three, maybe even four times. Only when that happens is the story something that has become true. Of course, it's also a good idea to post multiple duplications of a story in case someone missed the first one. The internet is really fast and stories can fly by in the blink of an eye. It's the same reason there are multiple road signs telling you of an exit on a highway - sometimes you miss the first one or two.

In any case, I just wanted to inform you, dear groucho, that this is not a mistake. Our editors are wise and the repeated stories they post are for the benefit of you and your brethren so that we may repeatedly make the same comments (and hopefully garner more karma).

Until the next "Google Dropping Gears Support" story, I bid you good day.

Sincerely,
D

ALLOW MY TO AIRE GRIEVANCES (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31208462)

1. Curling is not a sport, it's what you do when you drink a lot of beer and have nothing else to do

2. Snowboarding is not a sport, it's what you do when you drink a lot of beer and have nothing else to do

3. Winter Olympics are not what they used to be, now it's what you do when you drink a lot of beer and have nothing else to do

Re:ALLOW MY TO AIRE GRIEVANCES (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31211100)

You're wrong. Curling and snowboarding has never happened at the beer olympics. never. do not blame beer for those so called "sports"

64bit (1)

3vi1 (544505) | more than 4 years ago | (#31209598)

>> I guess this means the long-anticipated Gears support for 64-bit Firefox on Linux and Opera are moot.

To be clear, there have been 64-bit version available for at least a year, if not longer, from 3rd parties (I use it with Google Wave). They're just not 'officially' supported.

What are they thinking? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31210416)

I _wanted_ Gears for HTML 5!

Here we go, yet again... (2, Insightful)

FlyingGuy (989135) | more than 4 years ago | (#31211218)

Once again, we have the guy writing the spec or at least the maintainer working for a company with a HUGE vested interest in its outcome.

Sorry, but this is no different from MS, IBM or Oracle trying to define how things are going to work and doing it in their best interest.

Gears was invented to address the hideous short comings of the DOM, and now they think that HTML 5 is the magic pill?!

Read the HTML 5 spec. It is a rewrite of all the other equally hideous HTML specifications.

No one, not Google, not the WC3 is doing ANYTHING to fix all the stupidity that is the DOM, HTML and CSS.

We need to just call it a day on the current state of all of them and start over.

We need to stop having wars about tables -v- divs and things like What is a construction element and what is a cosmetic element and will CSS effect that part of DOM or not.

Microsoft was right in a lot of their decisions about how IE would work and present information to the browser user, but as usual they did in the most asshat manner possible and therefor they were wrong, but a lot of their concepts were spot on.

People keep trying to turn a text rendering program into what is essentially database UI where you can define fields and bind them to data sources. The combination of the two is absolutely insane and should be stopped right now.

The Browser makers should take a lesson from from from Delphi and VB and just implement a forms painter with objects that handle all the use input and stop trying to build all this crap out of a really really awful mashup of HTML, Javascript and CSS because while it might kinda sorta work, it works like crap.

A grid control should be implemented that is data aware ( local storage whatevah ) that can properly handle the concept of records instead of having to do all the stupidity you have to do now.

You want an application UI then build it like one and stop all this insanity of mixing them together.

I have said it before and I will say it again, there should be two top tags, <HTML> and <APP> and each one tells the browser to do two very different things.

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