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Google Gears is Launched

samzenpus posted more than 7 years ago | from the google-google-google dept.

Google 265

Mister Inbetween writes "Google is rolling out a technology designed to overcome the major drawback faced by all web-based applications: the fact that they don't work without an internet connection. Google Gears is an open source technology for creating offline web applications that is being launched today at Google's annual Developer Day gatherings around the world."

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No Safari or Opera Support (0, Troll)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332205)

Boo! [google.com] Am I the only one who thinks the Big 4 browsers should be supported, and not just FireFox/IE? In fact, I'd rather put a sign up on my site that says, "IE Users not welcome, upgrade to a REAL browser" than not support the millions of mobile and home gaming machines out there. Of course, I suppose that's just me.

I'm looking into how this works right now. I have my suspicions, but we'll see.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1, Informative)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332287)

Safari is supported. Opera support is coming soon.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332373)

Safari is supported.

Do you have a link for that? The FAQ I linked to says that Safari will be coming "in a future release" and says nothing about Opera.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (5, Informative)

compm375 (847701) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332405)

Did you or the mods read the GP link?

Google Gears works on the following browsers:

  • Apple Mac OS X (10.2 or higher)
    • Firefox 1.5 or higher
  • Linux
    • Firefox 1.5 or higher
  • Microsoft Windows (XP or higher)
    • Firefox 1.5 or higher
    • Internet Explorer 6 or higher

Additionally, the team is working on supporting Safari on Mac OS X in a future release.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (2, Informative)

mypalmike (454265) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332471)

You're probably right. But...

http://news.com.com/Google+kicks+offline+Web+apps+ into+gear/2100-7345_3-6187596.html [com.com]

"The initial code is aimed at JavaScript developers who write Ajax-style Web applications. It runs on Internet Explorer on Windows; Firefox on Windows, Mac OS and Linux; and on the Safari Mac OS browser."

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332533)

I'm inclined to believe that CNet made the mistake. Google claims that it works on Firefox for OS X. My guess is that CNet either assumed that OS X support == Safari support or they decided to preemptively report the upcoming Safari support.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1)

rueger (210566) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332785)

Additionally, the team is working on supporting Safari on Mac OS X in a future release.

I'm sure that will show up about the same time as Picasa [google.com] for OS X, which has been coming for what - four years?

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1)

Divine Predecessor (699797) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332359)

It works by using a special browser plugin, which you must install before you can use any of the apps. That's cheating.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (4, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332361)

So it looks like this is a browser plugin. Meaning that you'd need to install it with your web application. The API is reminiscent of the WHATWG Storage Specification [whatwg.org] , but appears to be a bit more sophisticated in its reach. If I'm reading this right, the biggest difference is auto-syncing of the data with a server (when you're online) rather than having to write your own synching software.

Thus this appears to be a competitor to Adobe Apollo [wikipedia.org] , but without Google defining their own container format.

Interesting. I'm not quite sure what to make of it as it's not anything that hasn't been contemplated before. Personally, I'm hesitent to adopt anything that can't be used on a live webpage as well as downloadable "webapps". However, that may not stop others who have good ideas on how this might be used.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (4, Informative)

ScottyH (791307) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332453)

It seems that Google Gears can be used for more than offline applications. It includes tools for running JavaScript in background threads to prevent UI blocking, as well as a SQLLite database for storage and fast retrieval of any data you want, whether you're working offline or not.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (4, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332521)

It seems that Google Gears can be used for more than offline applications.

Yes, but you have to get the user to install the plugin and accept the security warnings. Only *then* will it be available to online apps.

The market has been avoiding plugins for a long time due to the difficulty of getting end users to install the plugin software. Even with the (relative) simplicity of Microsoft ActiveX install, it often turns off the users. As a result, there are only two plugins you can (mostly) count on: Flash and Java. And that's only because they're usually installed by default.

Anyone using this for online content is taking a pretty large risk unless they control the computers that run it. e.g. It might make sense in corporate settings were updates are pushed by a central server. But that's a much smaller portion of the market than, say, Google Docs.

Of course, I imagine that Google will try to make some of these issues go away by shipping the software as part of their Google Desktop and GTalk downloads. Combined with potential downloads for the desktop application versions of their webapps, Google may get a pretty good market penetration. In which case their solution will be awesome. (Yay!) Though still only a psuedo-standard. (Boo!) :-)

* IE7 has reversed that trend with plugin pages being blocked by default. Try their demos in IE7, and you'll find it to be less userfriendly than it should be.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332627)

I'd rather put a sign up on my site that says, "IE Users not welcome, upgrade to a REAL browser" than not support the millions of mobile and home gaming machines out there.
 
i simply do not understand this statement? is it about reaching the most users or about you having a bug up your ass? the "millions" of mobile and home gaming machine users out there you talk about don't even make up 5% of most web traffic and ie is, what, in the 80-90% range?
 
  Of course, I suppose that's just me.
 
what? it's just you that can not do the math? or just you that has a bug up his ass? in any case, what you said makes no real sense. and the mod point you got? notice that no one wanted to put their reputation to it by giving it a rating that could be meta moderated? fucking fanbois. that's all it is.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (3, Insightful)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332953)

i simply do not understand this statement? is it about reaching the most users or about you having a bug up your ass?

It's about coding to the standards. Firefox, Safari, and Opera are all (more or less) standards compliant. It's quite easy to write code for all three of them. IE is NOT standards compliant, and has become a cancer upon the web. If enough sites start pushing neat features that IE doesn't support, users will begin upgrading to a better browser. (One that looks better, too!) That will either force Microsoft to fix their browser or make IE irrelevant.

Of course, that's just a pipe dream for now. But with neat stuff like Canvas, Storage, Event-Source, Video, and Audio showing up in the latest web browsers, it's tempting to pull the plug on IE for even a small portion of a site. Especailly sites that provide services to popular embedded devices like cellphones or the Wii.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (4, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333003)

I'd rather put a sign up on my site that says, "IE Users not welcome, upgrade to a REAL browser" than not support the millions of mobile and home gaming machines out there.

i simply do not understand this statement? is it about reaching the most users or about you having a bug up your ass? the "millions" of mobile and home gaming machine users out there you talk about don't even make up 5% of most web traffic and ie is, what, in the 80-90% range?

The main difference is that users of alternative internet devices generally don't get to choose their browser, whereas most IE6 users are a few clicks away from running Firefox, Opera, or at least IE7.

I agree with the GP; it's better to assist the disabled than the lazy.

Of course, if you're running a commercial site and hits = money, priorities change. But I'd still rather offer IE6 users a reduced-functionality version of the site (with clear instructions on how to update/replace their browser) than waste tons of time and effort on a "No Browser Left Behind" policy.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332861)

<QUOTE>Am I the only one who thinks the Big 4 browsers should be supported, and not just FireFox/IE?</QUOTE>
Am I the only one that thinks websites should be coded to the standard and browsers that don't imeplement them can be left without?

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332913)

Am I the only one that thinks websites should be coded to the standard and browsers that don't imeplement them can be left without?

That's generally how the Big 4 browsers get supported. :-)

It's amazingly easy to make an app work across FireFox, Safari, and Opera, but if you have to target IE it makes life a living hell.

Re:No Safari or Opera Support (1)

mistermocha (670194) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332959)

Hmm... isn't it "Beta" software? Give them a chance to catch up to the real goods.

For those who want to get started... (5, Informative)

FST (766202) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332241)

There are some sample applications available here [google.com] to help you get started using Google Gears. I found it pretty non-intuitive at the beginning but I think I'm starting to get the hang of it slowly.

WARNING: Goatse in Link above. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332261)

How low can you get? Someone needs to put a stop to these trolls.

Re:WARNING: Goatse in Link above. (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332289)

Done ;-}

Moderators! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332439)

Look! Trolling again! That happy-face has an evil glow! And there are hidden messages in that word "Done." It could mean Don*ay* or perhaps re-arraigned to mean "noDe." We all know a node is for spreading virus' Stop him!

Re:Moderators! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332911)

aawww, are you hungry little guy.
*feeds troll*

/for some reason this is amusing tonight
//mus be pretty damn tired.
///slashdot slashies!!!!!!!!

Link? (2, Insightful)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332247)

Shouldn't there be a link to Google Gears in the article?
Or a CD-ROM?

Re:Link? (3, Informative)

munksaway (741971) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332271)

here is a link to a video interview with Google's engineering director: http://tinyurl.com/2rrllx [tinyurl.com]

Re:Link? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332401)

Why is the google engineering director stretching his ass out like that?

-2: bitching (-1, Offtopic)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332285)

Instead of just complaining (and earning -ve mod points), provide a link and earn +ve mod points instead.

Re:-2: bitching (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332707)

I was aiming at +funny.
So your comment is either Offtopic for Funny, or Insightful for /. Procedure.

Re:Link? (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332429)

There is. It's on the first page, second paragraph. Click on the text that says "Google Gears". It will take you here:

http://gears.google.com/ [google.com]

Re:Link? (5, Funny)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332685)

I was referring to the /. article. We don't RTFA here.

Re:Link? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332801)

At Google we recognize that this is a serious problem for you slashdotters: article summaries frequently omit any link to the webpage in question. But not to worry: we've got engineers hard at work on a new technology that will allow anybody to search for pages on the web.

Larry & Sergey

Mark said so... (0, Troll)

meburke (736645) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332279)

Hehehehe. Mark Andreesen once said that the browser would replace the desktop and Microsoft buried him. Google has sneaked up on Microsoft, big time. This seems to be a pretty good tool. Works better than Windows 1.0 or 3.0 ever did.

Re:Mark said so... (1)

Webmasterguy (1108429) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332725)

I agree this cant happen soon enough, Google are the innovators now not tired old Microsoft, If I have to suffer through another lazy OS release or another incremental upgrade of Office, roll on Google desktop development. This cant happen soon enough in my opinion Webmaster, http://http//www.seowebsiteadvice.com [http]

how is this better (0)

teknopurge (199509) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332291)

then dojo's offline storage? Or flash's storage?

Re:how is this better (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332929)

Flash is the devil incarnate and Dojo might be evil as well, after all he sounds oriental. Google on the other hand, does no evil. [breitbart.com] So that's why its better.

Re:how is this better (3, Informative)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333023)

Dojo uses whatever storage service is available. That includes WHATWG Storage, Flash storage, and IE controls.

The biggest difference with Google Gears is that the storage mechanism can be configured to automatically sync with the parent server. It also allows you to run your code asynchronously as well as provides direct access to an SQLLite database. However, these features are secondary to the primary purpose of providing auto-synced data storage.

Re:how is this better (3, Informative)

Subliminal Fusion (253246) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333075)

Two key differences are that this is a collaboration of the Dojo Offline project and Google [sitepen.com] (which grew out of dojo.storage which is based around flash storage) and is using a relational DB (SQLite) as opposed to a flat-file data store.

It's also Open Source and they have support from Adobe, Mozilla and Opera (as mentioned in the Press Release [businesswire.com] ).

What's the Point (3, Interesting)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332299)

What's the point of having an offline web application?

You might as well create your own traditional app so that you don't have to deal with compatibility and security issues with a multitude of browsers and platforms. Or maybe the idea is doing something completely opposite to what Microsoft has been doing for almost a decade now, putting the browser functionality within the app.

Re:What's the Point (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332385)

<sarcasm>
yes becouse traditional applications work everywhere regardles of platform

</sarcasm>

This is a wierd day, trolls modded interesting :/

Re:What's the Point (1)

Virak (897071) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332511)

<sarcasm>yes becouse traditional applications work everywhere regardles of platform</sarcasm>

Wow! Just like web applications!

Re:What's the Point (4, Insightful)

nine-times (778537) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332413)

Web applications are inherently cross-platform-- the OS doesn't matter, only the browser. Also, they don't really require that you install anything or have admin privileges to install things, and they're accessible from any computer with an internet connection and web browser.

The downside of web apps is that you can't take them with you. Unplug from the network and you can't use them. I guess this might be a good step towards solving that problem.

Of course, whether this should all be built into web browsers, which were originally intended to store static pages, is an issue you could debate. Sometimes I think it might make more sense to make a browser-like framework for programs, but built from the ground up for applications instead of static pages. But then, I guess that more and more, that's what browsers are becoming.

Re:What's the Point (1)

DaveWick79 (939388) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332603)

So the problem is we have, what? 3 OS platforms, and 5 or 6 browsers. Seems just as easy to create apps to run on the 3 OS platforms than even the 4 major browsers. If the idea is web-hosted applications and files, sure the browser based app could make sense.
I guess the solution is we all use Firefox for offline web apps, that way we trust Google to create the foundation for the application, ultimately the "OS within the browser" to run apps on. Why bother using the browser as a platform when you don't have any control over the capabilities of that browser and you have to contend with compatibility between multiple browsers?

Why not just create a basic virtual machine client and load it with this fast, simple "Google OS"? The capabilities would be similar - it needs access to the local file system to store documents, and the app would run in a highly stable evironment that needs to do nothing but run apps.

Re:What's the Point (4, Informative)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333081)

Why not just create a basic virtual machine client and load it with this fast, simple "Google OS"? The capabilities would be similar - it needs access to the local file system to store documents, and the app would run in a highly stable evironment that needs to do nothing but run apps.


Dude, I think you just described Java. ;-)

I hear Java Web Start even solves the problem of distributing app updates seamlessly. Not that I am a fan of Java for GUI apps as far as look and feel go, but it certainly meets to your requirements for a virtual machine and I'd probably take it over some of the HTML + JS shite that is out there.

Why is it that nobody can see that what everyone longs for was invented more than a decade ago. It is like the 900 gorilla in the room that nobody wants to talk about.

-matthew

Re:What's the Point (0, Troll)

aichpvee (631243) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333283)

Because it is slow.

MODS: Feel free to mod me troll, I can take it and it will only show that I'm right and you're afraid.

Re:What's the Point (4, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333351)

Because it is slow.


Compiled Java bytecode is a speed deamon compared to JavaSCRIPT.

-matthew

Re:What's the Point (1)

laffer1 (701823) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333169)

3 OSes? WTF? Let me guess, Windows, Mac OS and Linux. Well you forget Mac OS X has intel and ppc to support. Microsoft has differences between Windows versions. An app for XP might not run in Vista x64 for instance. Linux distros are not standardized enough. You can't count on all the libraries to be present or GTK or QT to be a specific version. Then you might have users on BSDs, Solaris, ecomstation, ReactOS, BeOS, OS/2, or some other crazy thing. PDAs have different systems as do cell phones. Game consoles might run on Linux or some other system. I think we've got a lot more than 3 consoles.

Of course this google software suffers from the same problem as Java or Mono/.Net. It only runs on a limited number of platforms. The whole point to the web is to run on any platform. Don't believe me about Java? Try running java on a Linux distro that's not an x86 chip. Sure there are some buggy ports to a few select cpus... Java will get better when its fully GPL'd. Flash is in the same boat with limited support outside the big three on their most popular CPU type. Some of you linux guys are starting to forget what it was like to have no flash, java, video drivers, etc.

Re:What's the Point (4, Interesting)

suv4x4 (956391) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332787)

Of course, whether this should all be built into web browsers, which were originally intended to store static pages, is an issue you could debate. Sometimes I think it might make more sense to make a browser-like framework for programs, but built from the ground up for applications instead of static pages. But then, I guess that more and more, that's what browsers are becoming.

You may want to check Adobe Apollo, a multi-platform runtime that allows you to create desktop apps based on: HTML/CSS/JS and Flash.

It has ability to store/read data locally and basically act as a normal desktop app, but it's inherently multiplatform, because it uses platform neutral technologies (even more so than Java and .NET managed to do so far).

Honestly I'm not sure how smart it would be to invest in Google Gears. You may want to deploy a Yahoo app.. and then what? Google's also known for their ton of search-unrelated projects which they abandon the next day.

For Adobe, Flash and Apollo is a deal maker/breaker: if they don't get it right, Microsoft and WPF/.NET/XPF/Expression will simply throw them out of business.

For Google, Gears is just something they did for fun in their 20%.

Re:What's the Point (2, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333163)

It has ability to store/read data locally and basically act as a normal desktop app, but it's inherently multiplatform, because it uses platform neutral technologies (even more so than Java and .NET managed to do so far).


First of all, .NET was NEVER intended to be platform neutral. There's Mono, sure, but last I checked Microsoft is giving that project little or no help. Java is actually pretty good as far as cross-platform goes. I'm not a Java developer myself, but from what I understand Java developers have little trouble building and testing on one platform and deploying on another. And it isn't like there is a shortage of Java devs....

Given a decent language like Java, why would anyone WANT to develop their apps in... Flash. Yuck.

-matthew

Re:What's the Point (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332799)

Web applications are inherently cross-platform-- the OS doesn't matter, only the browser.

So is Tk/Tcl
     

Re:What's the Point (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333117)

Web applications are inherently cross-platform

Except that they aren't. They have to be specifically written for and tested to ensure cross-platform (cross-browser) compatibility, and even then, only the well-supported browsers are likely to work.

Also, they don't really require that you install anything or have admin privileges to install things,

No (normal) well-designed app requires admin privlidges to install or use.

and they're accessible from any computer with an internet connection and web browser.

That's a much higher barrier to entry than a computer with USB ports...

The downside of web apps is that you can't take them with you.

No, the downside of web apps is the horrific performance, interface, configurability, integration, responsiveness, resource requirements, etc., etc.

Sometimes I think it might make more sense to make a browser-like framework for programs, but built from the ground up for applications instead of static pages.

You mean XUL?

Re:What's the Point (2, Informative)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333211)

You mean XUL?


Except that XUL isn't really made for web apps. It is really for browser interface itself and for browser extensions that are installed locally. Actually writing a networked XUL app is kind of a pain because of security restrictions. I wrote a XUL app once but found that I had to install it as an extension because I could hardly do anything useful with all the restrictions when loading from a server. And if you are going to require that users install you app as an extension, the question becomes why use the browser at all? Why not use a real VM like Java?

-matthew

Re:What's the Point (1)

evilviper (135110) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333441)

Except that XUL isn't really made for web apps.

Except that I wasn't recommending XUL for web apps.

And if you are going to require that users install you app as an extension, the question becomes why use the browser at all? Why not use a real VM like Java?

Don't ask me, ask the GP.

Re:What's the Point (1)

SRA8 (859587) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332419)

Well, you might want an offline web application for things such as web-based word processing. When you are offline, files are cached offline. When a connection is detected, files are synched back onto the server. I would imagine online word processing applications' weak like to be the constant need for a connection, especially if you are on a roaming internet connection.

Re:What's the Point (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333251)

Well, you might want an offline web application for things such as web-based word processing. When you are offline, files are cached offline. When a connection is detected, files are synched back onto the server.


How about a more basic solution like syncronized network file storage so that you don't have to rewrite every damn application inside a browser to get centralized storage? That way you can use whatever word processor or speadsheet program you want and have your data synched to the internet.

-matthew

a point (5, Insightful)

adolf (21054) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332621)

Suppose that I, for example, run a small service-oriented business, with technicians and service trucks and customer appointments, in addition to the normal gamut of meetings and other internals. Suppose that some of these technicians are located in different towns.

Suppose that, because of geographic disparity, it becomes a pain in the ass to manage a central paper-based schedule and keep everyone on the same page. And suppose I find that the solution to this problem is to implement some sort of network-aware calender. And, that I want to be able to access and modify this calender by a variety of means, from standalone PalmOS devices to Windows boxen to WinCE phones, because the different techs, salespeople, and managers all have their own levels of technical ability and devices of choice.

And now, just suppose that something like Google Calender fits this bill and is put in service. Everyone knows where everyone else is, what they're doing later today (or next week). Scheduling a job can happen easily, and conflicts can be seen and avoided immediately. Life is good, and the paper schedule is forgotten (good riddance).

With me so far?

Good.

Now, suppose that the Intar-web is down, and Google Calender is unreachable.

Trucks stop rolling. Customers get angry about missed appointments. Jobs don't get done. And, the kicker: Nobody, except perhaps the stubborn old geek with an offline Palm Pilot, has any idea what anyone (including themselves!) is supposed to be doing. The company basically takes a vacation until connectivity is restored, which (in small business) means waiting as long as it takes for Time Warner or SBC to correct the problem.

Having offline web application support, if implemented well, can fix this problem. Even if new jobs can't be scheduled electronically, at least work on existing stuff can continue, as all that it takes is one person with Firefox on a desktop machine to pass out orders.

The worst-case, then, goes from having no data at all and a complete cessation of work, to at least having old data. A notepad and cell phones can then fill in the blanks for new jobs (just like it used to), which can be entered into the calender system once the Internet connection comes back.

Which is quite likely good enough.

Re:a point (1)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333459)

First of all, there's already calendar synchronization applications for mobile devices. Second, if this service is so critical, you probably shouldn't be hosting it on your comcast cable!

 

Re:What's the Point (1)

Bongo Bill (853669) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332761)

For that matter, what, exactly, is an offline web app? Isn't that kind of self-contradictory?

Maybe im missing the point (1)

stoneycoder (1020591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332333)

"After downloading the Gears plug-in, the browser will automatically determine whether a user is online or offline. If it's the latter, the next time the user is online, the application will synchronise with the server."
Wow, brilliant, how about i just wait til i have a connection and use my web app then. This would have been more useful during the days when dial up was the defacto standard. We should be working towards a true 'always' connected state, rather than figuring ways to disconnect. Pump these resources into global wireless and give us some decent services that we can get online anywhere without being raped up the ass by cell phone companies and their nickel and dime tactics. It just doesnt make a lot of sense to even use web apps, without a connection. The benefit of web apps is that you've always got fresh data, and you've always got the latest version of the app, because you are requesting it each time you use it. If those features dont interest you, use a desktop app. If your app doesnt come in desktop flavor, install php/apache/mysql or iss/mssql your box and run the web apps off a local server... still its just as clunky and worthless without live centrally located data.

Re:Maybe im missing the point (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332695)

Wow, brilliant, how about i just wait til i have a connection and use my web app then

and what about when your connection goes down? this guy [slashdot.org] made a good point regarding this in the 2nd half of his post.

Re:Maybe im missing the point (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332993)

Wow, brilliant, how about i just wait til i have a connection and use my web app then.
I guess you never have any time sensitive work you need to complete. You are quite a lucky man.

Re:Maybe im missing the point (1)

stoneycoder (1020591) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333187)

If my work is so important and that time sensitive, i'll make sure i have a reliable connection, and if thats not possible i'll make damn sure im not dependent upon that connex to get my work done

This type of stuff just promotes crappy data. "Oh let me see if we have any appointments available, oh wait, i cant... all this data i have access to is shit, because half the workforce is using it in offline mode, and i have no idea what data is out there in the wild waiting to be uploaded when they connect." And what happens when steve and sally are both working on the same record while offline, who gets their version sync'd and who gets theirs overwritten. In anything i've ever seen that requires syncing, you will constantly be dealing with data loss and bad data, or wasting time to prevent it.

Great idea. (-1, Troll)

TodMinuit (1026042) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332341)

Lets keep adding more and more crap to web. Lets not replace it with, ya know, something that deals with all these problems in a sane way.

Re:Great idea. (2, Insightful)

Daychilde (744181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332645)

I think this *is* a "sane way".

I think Java had some great goals; I don't think it worked as well as it was promised...

Will this follow Java in that? We'll see...

Re:Great idea. (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333051)

What this solves: * Location dependence * Online dependence * Needing to lug hardware around (such as a USB thumbdrive) I'm having trouble understanding what about this is insane.

That's the major problem? (4, Insightful)

consumer (9588) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332399)

And here I thought it was the hideous UI and sluggish, memory-sucking JavaScript. Now I know better.

Re:That's the major problem? (5, Insightful)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332713)

A UI is only as hideous as the UI designer has made it. I personally make amazing and intuitive UI using javascript, html and css. You'll never see them on the web though. You may see one in a Kiosk at a museum or on the back of an airplane in first class sometime though. They run locally via a browser pulling data from a central server but pulling UI assets and logic from a client side cache.

You can do some amazing things with today's Javascript libraries, DOM scripting, CSS manipulation and a SQL store. Look at Apple's Dashboard widgets, Konfabulator widgets, etc. for examples of what can be done (and yes when you turn an amateur developer base loose with easy to use tools, they'll come up with some pretty ugly and pointless things too).

BTW Javascript is only as memory sucking as the implementation, ie the browser in most cases. A good javascript engine will not leak memory like a sieve... and a good javascript library will minimize memory leaks even in a poor implementation.

Re:That's the major problem? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19333241)

Why am I the only one here who actually thinks about usability of software?

Having "web applications" that do not conform to a solid consistent format is HORRIBLE for usability. Users now have to learn how to use 10 different widget scrollbars, some which work and some that don't... instead of just using the one scrollbar their window manager comes with. There is no consistency between the GUIs of various software, and no guarantee it'll work on your particular system in the way YOU want it to work.

And why are we reinventing the wheel with YET ANOTHER FRAMEWORK! There have been protocols for sharing/syncing documents on the web for many years but no one uses them. We're actually talking about redesigning every application in existence from scratch to work with the new framework. We've already got office suites such as OpenOffice and MSOffice. What is more logical: rewriting these programs from scratch, or doing some relatively minor modifications so that they work with a new file storage method (in this case, sqlite databases?).

I really don't understand what this framework is introducing to the world. It seems like a slow, bloated and broken way of reinventing something we've been doing for the last 20 years. Can someone please sell this to me (minus the jargon)?

Re:That's the major problem? (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333025)

I use Google Docs (for non-important data) along with Gmail and Google Personal Homepage. I like the UI in all and have no problem with my computer or the page being "sluggish." Perhaps its time you updated your computer? Because mine is hardly cutting edge and has no problem. So I can only imagine how old your computer must be to be having these problems.

Oooh! (0, Offtopic)

DrEldarion (114072) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332421)

And don't forget your Google Gear [googlestore.com] , too.

Who? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332437)

I run a business that is entirely online. I haven't had one user ask for offline access. Who are these people that are clamoring for it? I never saw the need - most people have internet access 24/7. I just don't see the need.

Re:Who? (1)

SEWilco (27983) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332737)

Well, if you were stocking CD-ROMs of Google then maybe you'd see the need.
I'd like to Google when not online, but can't seem to find a CD-ROM of it. :-)

Who Wants MORE Google? (2, Insightful)

chromozone (847904) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332447)

The EFF said don't use Google Desktop because of vulnerabilities" "[We urge] consumers not to use this feature, because it will make their personal data more vulnerable to subpoenas from the government and possibly private litigants, while providing a convenient one-stop-shop for hackers who've obtained a user's Google password," the EFF said in a statement" http://www.eweek.com/article2/0,1895,1925064,00.as p [eweek.com] If Google is under pressure from some governments to hide things, from others to store and reveal things - why would people want more, more, more Google and their vulnerabilities on a computer? As bad as Microsoft is I would rather deal with the devil I still know then the Googlers who seem to want to be the center of the cyber-universe in a way that seems more grandiose than even M$. They lost me when the started censoring stuff here US never mind China.

Re:Who Wants MORE Google? (-1, Troll)

StikyPad (445176) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332641)

Well if the EFF said not to use it, then I'd better do what the EFF says!

Re:Who Wants MORE Google? (1)

chromozone (847904) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333313)

Nah lots of people/groups/orgs warn off on Google Search. IT people warn about it on networks all the time.

Re:Who Wants MORE Google? (2, Interesting)

Daychilde (744181) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332667)

Yeah, whatever.

No company is all evil, not even Microsoft. And no company is all angelic, as most think about Google. I know you don't think Google is angelic - but I don't think they're all evil, either.

Companies look out for themselves. Once people realize that, it really helps. They aren't good. They aren't evil. They exist to serve the shareholders (or owners, if not public)...

I like the EFF, but I disagree with them on this one. The recent /. pointer to the "Ten Firefox Extensions To avoid OZMG!11" article - where a lot of slashdotters rightfully said "Yeah whatever" -- I think it applies to the EFF's stance here.

Look, I don't want to *totally* blow you or the EFF off, there are some valid points.... but it's true of any and every business out there.

I'd rather deal with Microsoft AND Google than the federal government. Ponder THAT one for a bit. ;-)

Re:Who Wants MORE Google? (1)

dwater (72834) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332887)

> Who Wants MORE Google?

Yeah. *Another* Google app.

Yyyyeeeeaawwwwnnn.

I also made a TV that will show color shows in B&a (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332487)

The beauty of web apps is that they let you connect to others in a real-time basis. There is no offline equivalent. Period.

DOS through a browser (5, Insightful)

jihadist (1088389) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332497)

Google is slowly reinventing the computer... to be a lot like what it was 20 years ago, except through a web browser. Just think, in the 1970s we all used ultra-thin clients called Teletype terminals to connect to mainframes. Then came the PC revolution, and soon we all had slower machines of our own. Then all those machines got as fast as mainframes, and we got the Internet, and started connecting to each other. Now we're going back to ultra-thin-clients connecting not to mainframes but to Google's giant server farm where they store all our personal data and promise not to abuse it. Nothing ever really changes, does it?

Re:DOS through a browser (1)

Asmor (775910) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333319)

I'm glad I'm not the only one who made that observation. I actually talked about this with my boss not too long ago (about a month or so ago, I think).

The way I see it, I think that we're going to see a convergence of web-based and traditional applications... Specifically, I think that in N years (where N is some number I don't want to hazard a guess on, but not too far off...), everyone will have a personal server at home and a complement of terminals which access it. Their TV will access it, their phone, their tablet, etc, all through the internet, and it will run programs for them.

It's even doable now... Hell, if I understand it correctly that's basically what X windows is. Imagine X, only ubiquitous.

The nice thing about that is that you still have possession of the central repository of all your stuff. That's the main thing which worries me about web-based apps, not being in control of your information.

faggots (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332541)

you fags still fucking around with that linux shit? pathetic!

Honestly (1)

StickyWorm (1109471) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332557)

As a web developer, I don't see the wide adoption of "offline web application". Why not just create a desktop app that talks to the webapp through web services when you get back the connection? I've looked into Dojo offline examples, but still can't think of any business scenarios around an offline web application. I guess like what the article suggested, for email and word or image processing makes sense...but then how often do we really need to implement an application like that? I'd love to read some other ideas using offline web applications from slashdotters.

Re:Honestly (1)

chill (34294) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333041)

I work on several computers. I have a couple at home, one at the office and a laptop that I use when I travel. This sort of thing means I don't have to load the same software on each machine if I want to work on something online and offline.

A specific example is my family history.

I use phpGedView and keep it online so my family members can see and contribute. I also like to work on it during downtime, like in airports and while traveling. I don't always have a net connection. The application is online because I need the data available to more than one person, and I want to be able to work on it where ever I am. That sometimes is a computer at a friend's house.

The traditional way, I'd not only have to load the software on each machine, I'd also have to keep them all in sync. Screw that. It never works properly. I'm not interested in just dumping it to a database online, because different family members need to be able to use it and they have different systems: Linux, PC and Mac.

This way, I can work how and when I want and not be tethered to a network connection or to a specific machine.

Huh? (3, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332559)

There are a number of web servers that are fairly tiny and run on PCs... Nothing stopping a stand-alone browser application from installing it's own web server...

Re:Huh? (1)

Tablizer (95088) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332849)

There are a number of web servers that are fairly tiny and run on PCs... Nothing stopping a stand-alone browser application from installing it's own web server...

For MS shops, there used to be Personal Web Server for local web apps (usually used for development and testing). MS killed it for some reason.
         

google never stops ! (1)

chrisranjana.com (630682) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332589)

With this speed and kind of innovation google will be unstoppable even after m$ joins hands with yahoo ! way to go google !

So who needs Wikipedia on CD? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332647)

When you can browse it offline! Excellent.

Is this already possible? (3, Informative)

figleaf (672550) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332669)

IE had this feature for ages. HTA (HTML Applications) can be offline applications.
And now Firefox is getting the same feature.

Why do we need yet another plug-in.

Google Konfabulator? (0)

foniksonik (573572) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332791)

Hey Yahoo called, they want their idea back... well not exactly... actually if i read this correctly, Google's tool works across the browser divide and back again.

Yahoo's Konfab is desktop only. They have a UI lib but it isn't the same API as Konfab.

Google Gadgets is web only.

Apple Widgets are desktop/dashboard only.

MS Gadgets are desktop only.

Adobe Apollo apps are desktop only.

So I give Google kudos for making the first implementation of a javascript based application engine that works both with/through the browser and standalone on the desktop.

Synchronization? (1)

VariableGHz (1099185) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332813)

So, what about the millions of people who won't pay very close attention, and will type a bunch of stuff into Google Docs or whatever -- and fail to notice that their two-year-old unplugged the router? The web app keeps running and it indicates "App Offline" in the corner of the screen... they go to work and TEHOMG no document!

What then? At least right now it's all very clear: no internet, page doesn't load, check for the problem. Is it just me?

Re:Synchronization? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19333417)

That's it. Complain about a bad UI that doesn't exist.

I think it's pretty clear that any UI designer worth his salt will make it painfully obvious that you're working off line when you hit the send/save button.

web apps suck (1, Insightful)

timmarhy (659436) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332851)

what the hell is the benifit of web apps if they just shift dependancy from the OS to the browser? all their achieving is creating slower more limited applications.

if we head in the direction of download first web apps.... how is this better then just downloading a compiled app? certainly not cross platform - you need IE or FF to run it.

Zip Zoom Fly! (0, Offtopic)

DeadBugs (546475) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332895)

zipzoomfly.com [zipzoomfly.com] used to be called "googlegear" before Google forced them [wikipedia.org] to change their name.

Either way it's still one of the best sites to buy computer parts from.

Just a little piece of web history.

Now that sounds like a killer app for the iPhone (4, Interesting)

complete loony (663508) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332935)

The iPhone doesn't support desktop style apps. This could help bridge the gap if google / Apple were to support something like gears on the iPhone's browser.

Google Maps offline? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#19332963)

I'd *love* to get Google Maps in offline mode. How much will they charge for updates?

Silly me... (2, Insightful)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19332965)

Silly me, i thought the major drawback of web based applications was that HTML sucks for building rich applications.

So basically what Gears offers is the worst of both worlds. A terrible rich application dev environment (HTML + JS) combined with database concurrency headaches. Awesome!

-matthew

IBM... (3, Informative)

Belial6 (794905) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333153)

Of course IBM rolled this [techtarget.com] out six years ago in the Domino server, although I don't really expect Google's offering to handle Replication/Save conflicts as well as Domino does. Of course, now that there is actually another product out, the anti-Notes trolls can start complaining that the 6 year old tech from IBM isn't using the same API that the brand new offering from Google uses.

Re:IBM... (5, Interesting)

misleb (129952) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333325)

Of course IBM rolled this [techtarget.com] out six years ago in the Domino server, although I don't really expect Google's offering to handle Replication/Save conflicts as well as Domino does.


From the sound of it, Google expects the developer to handle database synchronization issues. And in some cases, you actually have to duplicate your business logic in the browser in Javascript to make the app function offline at all. Ouch!

http://code.google.com/apis/gears/architecture.htm l [google.com]

I'm not touching this tech with a 10 foot pole. Internet access is getting more an more ubiquitous. In the not too distant future the entire concept of being "offline" will be all but forgotten. I'm much more focused on making web apps not suck when they are ONLINE. Who has time to worry about what happens when they are offline?

-matthew

No thanks (2, Funny)

z-j-y (1056250) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333197)

I cannot work without internet. How am I supposed to check slashdot from time to time?

Javascript for the desktop? (1, Insightful)

Animats (122034) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333265)

This is sad. As a programming language, Javascript makes Visual Basic look good.

The wierd thing is that we went through all this with Java almost a decade ago. "Gears" is supposed to do roughly the same things Java was originally supposed to do.

Java went in a strange direction. "Applets" in the browser were never very popular. Java desktop applications were not widely successful, although a whole office suite was written in Java. Java ended up being the replacement for COBOL; it's what runs the business logic on the server.

The real innovation in Gears is providing a local database, instead of files, as the basic storage medium. That's not new in the Microsoft world (many apps use Jet, Microsoft's little database), but the open source world is still mostly in the flat file era for local storage. SQLite gets you locking, atomic transactions, structured data, and search capability. And you can get at those files via SQL; you don't have to access them through Gears and JavaScript. We may see bindings to the Gears back end for other languages. The middleware portion of this may be more important than the browser-based user interface.

Incidentally, no one seems to have mentioned that Google has launched a replacement for SourceForge [google.com] .

offline web apps (3, Interesting)

l3v1 (787564) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333279)

Thing is, I like the mozilla approach ( http://www.bluishcoder.co.nz/2007/02/offline-zimbr a-with-firefox.html [bluishcoder.co.nz] ) better. I think it's because there's no need to install 3rd party apps and such. But thing is, as it seems Google is ahead in this, and if people start adopting it (remains to be seen) then the mozilla approach probably won't stir too much water when it's released.
 

No Thanks! I use a local web server (0, Offtopic)

littlewink (996298) | more than 7 years ago | (#19333387)

I wrote a simple web server in Perl that runs locally. Works fine.

Why would I do such a thing?
BECAUSE I CAN! BWAHAHAHAAAAHHH!8-))
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