The Way Business Is Moving published by
Issue Date: June 2007

Google gears up for offline browser apps

June 2007
Kevin Murphy

Google has released into open source a browser add-on called Gears that will enable web-based applications to run locally while offline.

Gears would in essence allow already 'asynchronous' Ajax applications to become massively so, allowing users to work offline and sync up with the server when a connection becomes available.
The add-on includes a web cache for storing HTML objects locally and serving them up when offline, and a version of SQLite, a scaled-down open source SQL relational database server.
It also has a 'multithreading' module called WorkerPool, designed to allow processor-intensive functions to run in the background without freezing up the web-based user interface.
"With Google Gears we are tackling a key limitation of the browser in order to make it a stronger platform for deploying all types of applications and enabling a better user experience in the cloud," said Google chief executive Eric Schmidt, in a statement. Google has released the software free under the open source New BSD license. It has also made available three sets of APIs for developers to exploit each of the three major components.
To demonstrate the technology, Google has enabled it in an updated version of its Google Reader syndication feed-reading service. The company has support from Adobe Systems, which is working on similar technology called Apollo as a part of its Flex web application development framework. Apollo will support the Gears APIs, according to a statement from Adobe chief software architect Kevin Lynch.
Browser makers Opera and Mozilla have also expressed support. Mozilla was already on record as saying it was working on support for offline web applications in Firefox 3.0. Perhaps unsurprisingly, given the nature of its competition with Google and Adobe, browser-maker Microsoft is not involved.
Source: Computergram

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