[whatwg] Proposal: "Offline-Capable" Meta Tag and API Indicates Application's Ability to Function Without Network Connection

Ian Hickson ian at hixie.ch
Tue Aug 28 14:30:18 PDT 2012

On Thu, 7 Jun 2012, Brian Blakely wrote:
> On Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 7:49 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:
> > On Fri, 27 Jan 2012, Brian Blakely wrote:
> > >
> > > This proposal deals chiefly with standardizing the messaging around 
> > > that. The developer sets up the application to be ready for offline 
> > > use (via App Cache, localStorage, IndexedDB, cookies, etc), and 
> > > informs the UA when the user can go off the wire.  The UA then 
> > > informs the user in a predictable way that will become familiar to 
> > > them as they continue to use that particular client.
> > >
> > > Background downloading and other mechanics introduced in this thread 
> > > enable a native-like app download process that is, again, always the 
> > > same on the same UA, instead of varying from application to 
> > > application.
> >
> > I think we should wait for sites to start showing their own UI for 
> > this kind of thing -- "ok, I'm now fully cached" -- before we add a 
> > mechanism for the script to ask the UA to show UI for this. Without 
> > the experience gained from authors doing it themselves, we don't 
> > really have enough information about how to design the feature.
> I agree to the extent that nobody knows what works best at this point 
> (though I could point to some examples of good implementations). UA 
> implementation would certainly evolve, just as Fullscreen 
> implementations have been.
> My major concern is that, as web developers learn, leverage, and master 
> various offline technologies, widespread adoption alone could take 
> years, and that is before developers begin to finesse their UIs.
> The main purpose of the proposal is to accelerate the uptake of the 
> offline Web.  A UA hook for users helps to break us away from "the web 
> is online-only, forever" and a simple API for a dev will encourage 
> implementation.

I don't think that rushing to add a new feature to the spec -- which may 
or may not be implemented by browsers, but which almost certainly won't be 
exactly what authors need since it'll be done without the benefit of 
deployment experience -- will do anything positive to accelrate the uptake 
of the offline Web.

Standards development takes time, and has to be done carefully. Mistakes 
can be very costly and last a long time.

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

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