Daniel Hoelbling-Inzko talks about programming

Offline Web Applications

Posted by Daniel Hölbling on April 22, 2008

calendar_sm2_en I've stumbled across several discussions on offline web apps lately and thought I'd share my view on these things.

As a heavy user of GMail, Google Calendar and Goodle Reader I really depend on having a internet connection most of the time. I especially am one of those guys who forgets his timetable the second it gets changed, so whenever I need to make an appointment I either have to search for a computer or postpone the making of the appointment.

So, I find myself too often in the middle of a chat digging out my laptop to look at my timetable.
But although my laptop is starting up quite fast, till I get connected to a wireless (if any at all) I usually have spent 3-5 minutes with meaningless smalltalk and cursing about WIFI and my ubuntu (my laptop is now 4 years, can't prove that the machine got slower over time, but reinstalling XP simply wasn't an option any more).

And then, I stumble across an article by DHH (the guy behind RoR) called: You're not on a fucking plane (and if you are, it doesn't matter)!
So, halfway through I was ready to agree that being able to access web apps all the time isn't necessarily a good thing till I remembered all the hassle I go through when I'm trying to look up my schedule.

For time being, Google did a pretty good job on replacing all my mail/calendar/reading needs by their web applications, and although there are some nice tools like Google Calendar Sync, I really can't use it if there is no network connection available. (Calendar Sync isn't syncing all my calendars, only the main calendar that I only use for personal stuff, university and business calendars are what matters and those don't get synced).
So, Google Gears might be the right way in the right direction, although I still doubt that it's clever to install liteSQL on a client's machine, making all SQL calls through AJAX so that Gears can swap out the real server if disconnected. That's just too much crappy Javascript that needs to be written and executed on the client's side.

Finally, I think DHH has a point in "we're way too online". But there are applications that really need 24/7 availability and those need to be made accessible offline. And while we're at, why not just create something that will work for more than one site?

By the way, my solution to the current calendar problem is already in the works, by June 30th I'll be owning an iPhone, that's gonna be synced with Outlook (that will be synced with my Google Calendar) so that I don't need to get out my laptop any more while also having the calendar offline!

Filed under internet, personal
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