The Next Step: Plug-in

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2008-07-15 Print this article Print

The team's next step is to get the technology "into a fully formed plug-in that can be used with any Rails app," Marcus said.

"And to make it more open-source-friendly," Ma said.

"That sounds like a great idea," David Heinemeier Hansson, the creator of Ruby on Rails, wrote in response to questions about the Gears on Rails project. "I don't personally have that great of an interest in offline Web applications, but this stuff would be super for those who do. While it's probably a small fraction of developers out there who'll bother to make offline-capable applications, it doesn't mean that it's not important for those who do need it. However small a percentage that may be."

Brad Neuberg, an engineer on the Google Gears team, has developed PubTools Search, which is "an open-source JavaScript library that drops a client-side search engine right into your page," Neuberg said in an article he wrote about the project.

Neuberg used Google Gears and the Dojo Toolkit to create the client-side search engine. However, "PubTools Search is not an official Google project or Gears API; it is a project I created on my own to teach and help developers," he said.

In the introduction to his article on PubTools Search, Neuberg said, "Did you know that you can use Gears to do fast, client-side searching of data, similar to a client-side search engine? Gears bundles Full-Text Search (FTS) abilities right into its local, SQLite database. MySpace, for example, uses this feature with their MySpace Mail application, downloading all of a user's messages for fast, client-side search. Because all of the data is local, you can do nifty things like search over the data in real time as the user types, something that is much harder if you have to query over the network to a server to do the searching."

Darryl K. Taft covers the development tools and developer-related issues beat from his office in Baltimore. He has more than 10 years of experience in the business and is always looking for the next scoop. Taft is a member of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM) and was named 'one of the most active middleware reporters in the world' by The Middleware Co. He also has his own card in the 'Who's Who in Enterprise Java' deck.

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