Category Archives: web_applications

cache me if you can

Over at Teleread, David Rothman has a pair of posts about Google’s new desktop RSS reader and a couple of new technologies for creating “offline web applications” (Google Gears and Adobe Apollo), tying them all together into an interesting speculation about the possibility of offline networked books. This would mean media-rich, hypertextual books that could cache some or all of their remote elements and be experienced whole (or close to whole) without a network connection, leveraging the local power of the desktop. Sophie already does this to a limited degree, caching remote movies for a brief period after unplugging.
Electronic reading is usually prey to a million distractions and digressions, but David’s idea suggests an interesting alternative: you take a chunk of the network offline with you for a more sustained, “bounded” engagement. We already do this with desktop email clients and RSS readers, which allow us to browse networked content offline. This could be expanded into a whole new way of reading (and writing) networked books. Having your own copy of a networked document. Seems this should be a basic requirement for any dedicated e-reader worth its salt, to be able to run rich web applications with an “offline” option.