Forum: Ruby on Rails Offline App Access

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1c8a3952cd8249fb86bf52fd2d7caf6d?d=identicon&s=25 Philip Dutton (railskater)
on 2007-06-09 05:54
  I recently built a rails application on my local laptop.  I built the
web application specifically to address one of my business needs.  Over
time, the application has proven very useful.  Because it is useful, I
decided that I would put it up online in the future and give other users
access.  However, I started to realize that other users would have one
particularly annoying problem:  no off-line access.  I have been taking
advantage of off-line access by default since I am using the development
version of the sight.  This is a problem that is somewhat obvious due to
the nature of the web and server-side app hosting.  When you are using a
local app version, it is so easy to stay in "data acquisition" mode:  I
constantly input data to the local app.

  Dreadfully, the more I use certain web applications, the more I need
them even when my internet status is "off-line."  This is a serious
drawback for business users and will prevent them from totally switching
to server-side apps.

  The other day I read something about Google releasing a toolkit which
was designed to help developers create off-line versions of their web
apps.  This has the potential to revolutionize the off-line app problem.
Think about how competitive sights like basecamphq tend to work.  They
offer a nice product for sure, however, If I can't access the app while
off-line then I am in an uncomfortable "downtime" position.

  I also thought that such off-line web apps would cause problems for
the account payment structures that exist in sights like basecamphq.  If
there was an off-line version then how could they impose their account
structures?  I guess it is just a matter of smart programming.  (note:
when I talk about account structures I am referring to notions of
restrictions on things like number of 'cases' or 'users' or 'projects').
Oddly, it would seem strange to use the off-line version of some app and
be expected to be charged since I am simply using my local storage and
my local bandwidth.  Of course, they did all the programming so they
expect a piece of silver- this I understand.  However, we are dealing
with a tech crowd who have an odd psychological

  Finally, here is my question:  Does anyone know if the ruby rails team
is developing such off-line app features?  I hope so, because Google is
posing a threat.

  A threat?  Yes, because if a user can continue using a website while
off-line, he/she is most likely to continue using that application!
This is so obvious and hence so important.  Consider all the times that
you had no internet access for several months.  Finally, you get back
online and you simply open accounts on the latest and greatest websites.

  Simply put: the web app developers need their users to continuously
conduct data acquisition- any delay in the data acquisition process is
possible market share disruption.


  Once again, my question is for the rails developers:  have you
considered off-line app capabilities?

Philip Ronald Dutton
E6bf71c2dcf186b422969b773348b4a4?d=identicon&s=25 Andrew Williams (Guest)
on 2007-06-09 06:03
(Received via mailing list)
Have you looked at Slingshot?

http://developers.joyent.com/
B09a3f6cdc4797532647d2d264b5df49?d=identicon&s=25 Jodi Showers (jshow)
on 2007-06-10 02:24
(Received via mailing list)
On 9-Jun-07, at 12:02 AM, Andrew Williams wrote:

> Have you looked at Slingshot?
>
> http://developers.joyent.com/
>
>

Phillip,

I spent 2 days this week - and on the surface Slingshot looks
promising, but I believe it's too early to be used.

My 2 problems at this time are:
1. down synchs seem to work ok, but up synchs deleted locally created
records
2. the mailing list is just about vacant (is this mike on?). I posted
2 problems this week, with zero responses from the team. The only
legitimate response I got was from someone who suggested I try their
plugin if I want to sync data.

As I said, I'm pretty hyped about the project and will be keeping an
eye on it. Deploying should be quite nice, some desktop integration
is promising, but I think the synchs are key to offline (unless
you're always offline)

Jodi
Cd804cfeeea508f6bf2f5487c9ef4aed?d=identicon&s=25 linoj (Guest)
on 2007-06-10 07:24
(Received via mailing list)
You might also check out Adobe Apollo although its not quite the same
thing.
if i understand correctly, you can run web apps on your desktop
instead of browser but it doesnt do local/remote database
synchronization.

http://labs.adobe.com/technologies/apollo/
http://conferences.oreillynet.com/cs/rails2007/vie...



On Jun 8, 11:54 pm, Philip Dutton <rails-mailing-l...@andreas-s.net>
6b554084eb8bcb53a1c97864d8c4ca0d?d=identicon&s=25 Husein Choroomi (Guest)
on 2007-06-11 11:42
(Received via mailing list)
You might also want to take a look at Google Gears:

http://gears.google.com/

-H

On 6/10/07, Jodi Showers <jodi@nnovation.ca> wrote:
>
>
> As I said, I'm pretty hyped about the project and will be keeping an eye on
> it. Deploying should be quite nice, some desktop integration is promising,
> but I think the synchs are key to offline (unless you're always offline)
> Jodi
>  >
>


--
Husein Choroomi
Yucca Intelligence Development
http://www.YuccaHQ.com
00973881979aa0a660ffbbb2f7a907fb?d=identicon&s=25 Peter De Berdt (Guest)
on 2007-06-11 15:57
(Received via mailing list)
Totally different league. Google Gears is aimed at applications that
have little or no serverside logic, because basically the only thing
you get is a connection to a local database. Everything else (the
logic of the app) has to be javascripted. That's all fine for an
offline RSS feed reader, webmail, ... but for applications like most
Rails apps it's just not a viable solution.

Everybody always jumps on the buzz, claiming it's the new coming of
Christ because it's from Google, instead of actually looking what you
can actually achieve with it. Google Gears is great for the stuff
Google will use it for: taking their online apps that are 99%
clientside code offline.

On 11 Jun 2007, at 11:41, Husein Choroomi wrote:

>> Have you looked at Slingshot?
>>
>> http://developers.joyent.com/

Best regards

Peter De Berdt
6b554084eb8bcb53a1c97864d8c4ca0d?d=identicon&s=25 Husein Choroomi (Guest)
on 2007-06-11 17:13
(Received via mailing list)
No, I didn't say it's great because it's a Google product! I'm not
even a fan of offline web applications!!!

But it's cool, not because it's from Google, just because it allows
users to access what they need when they can't be online! Yeah, it
needs lots of local javascript code (it took me twice more time
prototyping a project using it) and smells duplicate here and there.
And in some ways it can be dangerous too. But IMO it can be useful for
many Rails applications as they're mostly database-backed web
applications. 37Signals' Highrise can be more useful when you can
access it when you're on the road.

BTW, It's not an ideal framework for offline application. It's first
framework in this area, the first step, and many lessons should be
learnt from it.

Best regards,

On 6/11/07, Peter De Berdt <peter.de.berdt@pandora.be> wrote:
> achieve with it. Google Gears is great for the stuff Google will use it for:
> http://gears.google.com/
>
>
>
> Peter De Berdt
>
>  >
>


--
Husein Choroomi
Yucca Intelligence Development
http://www.YuccaHQ.com
00973881979aa0a660ffbbb2f7a907fb?d=identicon&s=25 Peter De Berdt (Guest)
on 2007-06-11 18:09
(Received via mailing list)
On 11 Jun 2007, at 17:12, Husein Choroomi wrote:

> No, I didn't say it's great because it's a Google product! I'm not
> even a fan of offline web applications!!!

I wasn't pointing a finger at you personally, but everytime some new
javascript lib hits all the rss feeds, it's the almight solution to
everything :-)

> But it's cool, not because it's from Google, just because it allows
> users to access what they need when they can't be online! Yeah, it
> needs lots of local javascript code (it took me twice more time
> prototyping a project using it) and smells duplicate here and there.
> And in some ways it can be dangerous too. But IMO it can be useful for
> many Rails applications as they're mostly database-backed web
> applications. 37Signals' Highrise can be more useful when you can
> access it when you're on the road.

Yes, but you have to make *yikes* sql calls from google gears. It's
like being forced back to the first-time php developer ages.

> BTW, It's not an ideal framework for offline application. It's first
> framework in this area, the first step, and many lessons should be
> learnt from it.

Dojo.offline has been around for some time (they even cooperated on
google gears IIRC). But you're right, an existing barrier has been
destroyed, now all we need is for some brilliant mind like DHH, Sam
or Thomas to take it to a more useful and developer-friendly level.


Best regards

Peter De Berdt
E4e17e45f2e8cc967a8695131910f365?d=identicon&s=25 Thufir (Guest)
on 2007-07-03 04:53
(Received via mailing list)
On Jun 11, 6:56 am, Peter De Berdt <peter.de.be...@pandora.be> wrote:
> Totally different league. Google Gears is aimed at applications that
> have little or no serverside logic, because basically the only thing
> you get is a connection to a local database. Everything else (the
> logic of the app) has to be javascripted. That's all fine for an
> offline RSS feed reader, webmail, ... but for applications like most
> Rails apps it's just not a viable solution.
[...]

For the offline RSS feed reader, the feed contents would be in a
database locally?  Would that be a "legacy" database, or a RoR naming-
conventions compatible database?


thanks,

Thufir
E4e17e45f2e8cc967a8695131910f365?d=identicon&s=25 Thufir (Guest)
on 2007-07-03 04:56
(Received via mailing list)
On Jun 11, 8:12 am, "Husein Choroomi" <hchoro...@gmail.com> wrote:
> access it when you're on the road.
>
> BTW, It's not an ideal framework for offline application. It's first
> framework in this area, the first step, and many lessons should be
> learnt from it.
[...]

It has many of the benefits of a virtual machine.


-Thufir
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