Brad Neuberg has started work on the Dojo Offline Toolkit backed by the generosity of SitePen.
What is the Dojo Offline Toolkit?
The Dojo Offline Toolkit will be a small, cross-platform, generic download that enables web applications to work offline.
Letâ€™s look at the Dojo Offline Toolkit from a userâ€™s perspective. Imagine Alex is using a web-based real estate application for realtors built with the Dojo Offline Toolkit. In the upper-right corner of this web application is a button that says â€œWork Offline.â€ The first time Alex clicks on this button, a small window appears informing him that this web application can be accessed and used even if he is offline. If Dojo Offline has never been installed, Alex is prompted to optionally install a small 100K through 300K download that is automatically selected for his appropriate OS, including Windows, Linux/x86, and Mac OS X/Universal Binary.
Once Dojo Offline is installed with the included installer, the web-based real estate application prompts Alex to drag a hyperlink to his desktop and bookmark the web applicationâ€™s URL. As Alex works online, anything that should be available offline is simply stored locally. If Alex is offline, he can reach his application by simply double-clicking the link on his desktop, opening its bookmark, or by simply typing in its normal web address. The applicationâ€™s user-interface will magically appear in the browser, even if the user is offline, and all offline data will be retrieved from and stored into local storage. Dojo Offline detects when the network has reappeared, allowing the web application to send any data stored in local storage to the web server.
Local storage is done using Dojo Storage, which allows web applications to store hundreds of K or megabytes of information inside the browser, with the userâ€™s permission. Dojo Storage is complete and works across 95% of the existing installed base of the web, including Firefox, Safari, and Mozilla on Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. The Dojo Offline Toolkit will come bundled with Dojo Storage.
Once Dojo Offline has been installed, it will work for any web application that codes to it â€” it is completely generic and has no application specific information in its download. Applications have a consistent, simple API they can code to, the Dojo Offline and Dojo Storage APIs, to enable offline ability. Even better, since the user always interacts with the web application through its domain name, rather than through a file:// URL or http://localhost domain name, the web application runs under the same security policies as standard web sites, which means a userâ€™s machine will not be compromised by an untrusted web application. The Dojo Offline Toolkit will work in Internet Explorer, Firefox, and Safari, and will run on Windows, Linux/x86, and Mac OS X/Universal Binary.
The Dojo Offline Toolkit will be fully open source, available under the same licenses as Dojo: the BSD and the AFL.
The work is done via the Proxy AutoConfiguration (PAC) feature in our browsers, and the final deliverable will consist of:
- the Dojo Offline proxy
- installers and uninstallers
- PAC file generation and registration
- the Dojo Offline API for easy, application-level access
- the Dojo Offline web-based installer UI for downloading Dojo Offline documentation
- a sample application, Moxie, modified to work with Dojo Offline
- QA and bug fixing
Good luck to Brad. We look forward to hear about your experience, and progress!