[whatwg] Offline Web Apps

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Thu Sep 13 15:59:30 PDT 2007

On Thu, 13 Sep 2007, Aaron Boodman wrote:
> >
> > Ok, but what are you proposing to _solve_ this? There's no difference 
> > between the following two models as I see it:
> >
> >   * Download an HTML page for each bug
> >
> >   * Download a single page to generate the bug pages plus one data
> >     page per bug
> By 'data page' you mean a row of data representing that page? I presume 
> that downloading a single row of data will be more efficient than 
> downloading an entire web page plus rechecking all its resources.

We're talking about Bugzilla here. There's a LOT of data to send per bug. 
All the metadata, all the comments, the entire changelog, it adds up to 
probably not much less than the actual page as generated by the server.

> Maybe you were asking how you could keep querystring-based urls in the
> offline version of Bugzilla?

There isn't an "offline version". There's just one version, it just 
happens to support being online and offline.

By doing this we're basically saying that the query string never gets sent 
to the server anymore. That seems like a huge violation of the URI 

I think the problem here isn't necessarily just the query parameters 
though. The problem is more that the application has an open-ended URI 
space, and we want to capture the whole thing, without actually 
downloading a near-infinite amount of data per user.

Another example would be flickr, where there are bazillions of images, 
each with their own permalink. Those, though, aren't query parameters.

The core problem though is that having an "offline mode URI remapping 
script", as it were, only makes sense if there are separate online and 
offline apps. The model we're looking at here doesn't have separate online 
and offline apps. There's just one app, and it works as if it was offline 
all the time, with two differences:

 1. It can atomically update all the infrastructure (markup, scripts, 
    styles, database schema).
 2. It can communicate with the server using an out-of-band communication 
    channel while the client is online.

To me this means that we either want apps to have a finite URI space, or 
we want apps to have a way of passing information to pages via URIs that 
doesn't screw with the existing URI infrastructure. Or both.

Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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