John Sequeira


Friday, June 15, 2007
Google Gears Roadmap

MS's Dare Obasanjo harshes on the Google Gears beta because it doesn't solve the big problem of offline/online synchronization. That seemed like a reasonable criticism, because that is a hard problem, but I think it misses a couple of points.

  • Read-mostly applications -- ones you use for reference and just need a local copy of -- are pretty important. Having a local copy of your organization's CRM database is a valuable thing, whether or not you can write back to it. If Gears was used predominantly for this, I think it would still have a big impact on web architecture.
  • The mobile folks have gotten pretty good mileage out of SyncML for solving this general problem. In fact in a lot of ways online/offline browser apps are simply a recasting of connected/disconnected mobile apps. Right? I would be surprised not to see a Gears+SyncML hookup in the near future.

The conflict resolution issues (who over-writes who, when, and how) Dare points out are very application specific, and I don't see any generic technology-based solution addressing them. Those are much more likely to be addressed by convention ... and we won't establish those conventions until folks start bushwhacking down the online/offline web path.
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