One of the most frequently requested features in software-as-a-service computing these days is the ability to work offline. Just ask Google, which is regularly hounded with requests to make its Apps work offline.
Offline access isn't easy to construct, particularly for multiple types of applications, as Web application platform provider Etelos can attest.
Roughly a year after it first talked about offline access, Etelos April 21 delivered a beta of AOP (Apps on a Plane), a technology that lets users work on applications offline.
Etelos is part of a crop of newer software makers breaking from the traditional packaged software practice, including Salesforce.com, Google and Amazon Web Services, to use the Web as the launching pad for applications and services to help companies conduct business. The San Mateo, Calif., company built its products using the LAMP (Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP/Python/Perl) open-source stack.
Etelos, which like Salesforce.com offers a platform to enable programmers to build Web applications and share them in an online marketplace, said AOP lets applications from the Etelos Marketplace exchange data with any application that is AOP-ready.
This means users will be able to make changes to fully functioning versions of their application. When users reconnect to the Web, the changes they make offline will sync up online. The data is safe because it is stored in a local database and mirrored in the application in the cloud. Etelos App Sync manages applications when synchronizing.
For example, users traveling via flights can view client records and take notes or update proposal information and more. Etelos' App Sync utility picks up the data and makes sure it is shared.
Programmers working on an existing application can enable that application to exchange data with any other AOP-enabled application and run offline or online without having to change the software code. By not having to rewrite an application, both developers can be more productive.