Quality Reads

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Google Closing Web-Desktop Gap

Right on the heels of my post concerning "Universal Search", Google just announced a new project bringing the web and the desktop closer together. Google Gears is a development platform where online applications can be made available offline or provide additional processing power to an online application. One of the major limitation of javascript is its single threaded processing. If you have a resource intensive operations occurring on a web page, the UI will often freeze until the operation is complete. Obviously, users don't understand what's going on in the bowels of the application so this can create a significant development barrier. Google Gears provides an API to hand off the resource intensive operation so the UI doesn't freeze up and users are none the wiser.

Here are the three main features of Google Gears (straight from Google):
LocalServer LocalServer
Cache and serve application resources (HTML, JavaScript, images, etc.) locally
Database Database
Store data locally in a fully-searchable relational database
WorkerPool WorkerPool
Make your web applications more responsive by performing resource-intensive operations asynchronously

From my brief inspection of the API, this makes me rethink my whole opinion of Apollo. You can develop one website with hooks into Gears that gracefully degrades if its not installed. With the Flex/AJAX bridge, you could even have a Flex website that communicates with the Database and WorkerPool. Whoa. Pretty sweet.

I'll post some more thoughts, once I get some time to digest the idea.


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