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

Brian Blakely anewpage.media at gmail.com
Fri Jan 27 13:46:32 PST 2012

Hey Ian,

"What kind of app are you considering that needs 700MB at once?"

I'm considering videogames that the user would like to play offline (plane
flight, subway, etc), as well as massive software packages like Adobe CS.
A good application designer would allow the user to choose portions of the
app that they would like to cache long-term, but suppose the user needs the
entire thing?  In that case, 700MB could likely lowballing by quite a bit.

On Fri, Jan 27, 2012 at 1:34 PM, Ian Hickson <ian at hixie.ch> wrote:

> On Wed, 12 Oct 2011, Brian Blakely wrote:
> >
> > Trigger a UA-native indication to the user that the current
> > application's primary and entire collection of features can be used
> > without a network connection.
> >
> > [...]
> >
> > This seems simple, almost superfluous, but it is of staggering
> > importance. An "online only" stigma is of greatly growing impedance to
> > the web platform's reputation as a software platform, and it persists
> > among the vast majority of users.  The latest versions of all major
> > browsers will support features like DOM Storage and Application Cache
> > very soon, but these features are largely ambiguous, even amongst the
> > technically savvy.
> >
> > In addition to implementation of offline technologies, app authors are
> > currently individually responsible for informing their users that an app
> > can be used offline. This is not an adequate solution, and a universal
> > notification that is UA-native would be far more effective at enhancing
> > awareness.
> >
> > Because mere utilization of appcache and localStorage do not always make
> > an application "offline capable", offering a manual flag to authors
> > allows a UA to complement, or override, its heuristic detections of this
> > state.
> >
> > The Web must become known as a full software platform, instead of just a
> > lite version of the "native" App Store experiences out there.  In order
> > to do so, its features must be more discoverable by users, and in a
> > standardized fashion.
> On Thu, 13 Oct 2011, Justin Novosad wrote:
> >
> > I think this is a very interesting proposition.  I would like to add
> > that there should also be UA-native indication to the user that an app
> > can become offline-capable upon request, along with a mechanism for
> > requesting offline capability, and for triggering app data
> > synchronization.  The motivation being that there should be a universal
> > way to manage the state of all offline capable apps at the browser/OS
> > level.
> These seem like reasonable problems to try to address. I recomend
> approaching the browser vendors and asking if they would be interested in
> these features. Browser vendor experience, and seeing what kind of
> adoption these features get, is key to determining whether it's worth
> adding this or not.
> On Fri, 21 Oct 2011, Brian Blakely wrote:
> >
> > Data transfer ends when the user closes the browser, making huge 700MB
> > applications impossible.  How many are willing to keep a loading tab
> > open for half an hour or more?
> What kind of app are you considering that needs 700MB at once?
> > The current paradigm of page loading does not work for very large
> > applications that need all of their assets before they can run
> > functionally offline.  Games and multimedia applications are almost
> > always this way.
> For such apps I would recommend using the appcache feature and structuring
> the app so that it doesn't need to be fully cached before it'll work.
> --
> Ian Hickson               U+1047E                )\._.,--....,'``.    fL
> http://ln.hixie.ch/       U+263A                /,   _.. \   _\  ;`._ ,.
> Things that are impossible just take longer.   `._.-(,_..'--(,_..'`-.;.'

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