[whatwg] AppCache can't serve different contents for different users at the same URL

Aaron Whyte awhyte at google.com
Wed Jul 22 11:49:18 PDT 2009

On Wed, Jul 22, 2009 at 10:02 AM, Drew Wilson <atwilson at google.com> wrote:

> I think this boils down to "the Gears 'requiredCookie' attribute was really
> useful".

Pretty much, yeah.

> Yeah, I think that's the use case they are trying to support - offline
> access to web apps where any one of multiple users can log in. I have to say
> that I'm somewhat fuzzy on the precise use case, though.

Imagine two users of fancyapp.com, with their own logins and data and custom
skins and whatnot.  The contents of the main page are uncacheable and are
totally different depending on the cookies in the request, which tell the
server who is logged in.  This is the way nearly every web app works today,
and this is also the way a lot of people share a single computer.

Without any offline support, they can share one browser, if one logs out of
fancyapp, and the other logs in.

If fancyapp supports offline use with Gears, then one of the users can
install an offline client, without affecting the other user, because of

But if fancyapp supports offline use with HTML5's app cache, then if one
user installs an offline client, fancyapp will keep working for that user,
but not for the other user, who will have to go get their own computer,
browser, profile, or whatever they need to avoid hitting the other user's
app cache.

The engineers at fancyapp could rewrite their mail page so it's just a
little router that looks at cookies and makes subsequent requests to
user-specific URLs to really load the app.  But that's an inferior user
experience, because it introduces an extra round trip to get the initial
page properly rendered.  So they'll probably have to support both.
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