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Offline Web Applications

Consider a  travelling salesman who uses online applications to access his emails, keep a tab of his appointments and to store his contact information. Since he will be  travelling most of the time, he may not access to internet connection all the time. When he is offline, he can no longer access his favorite online applications.

The HTML5 specification tries to address this by providing  two solutions: local data storage and an offline application HTTP cache which makes sure application is available when user is not connected. Currently Firefox 3 is planning to support these capabilities. It will be interesting to see how the other browsers support this specification.

Google Gears,a browser plugin from Google also provides a solution for this. It consists of a local database which is based on SQLite to cache the data locally.Using Gears, a web application may cache the data when application is offline. Then it can synchronise the data in cache when it is back online. It also consists of a local server, to cache and serve application resources  without needing to contact a server.

 Silverlight does not provide the above features as of now. It is planning to take Silverlight offline eventually and is considering it in feature list for next version of Silverlight.

 In this series I will discuss and share my thoughts about how we can create Offline Web applications today using Silverlight.

 In next article i will talk about how to add offline database storage abilities in Silverlight.

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