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Browsers could host a (simple) database

APIs for offline data access

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APIs are being developed to enable a browser and browser-based applications to ingest and store database records over the net for offline database access.

In an apparently paradoxical development, the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) is developing sets of APIs to enable browser-integrated applications, such as e-mail clients and calendars, to ingest data from the net and store it in the browser for later offline access, so as to facilitate richer web applications.

Applications that are browser-based and need to enable offline access to their data must develop their own way of ingesting and storing data. The use of a standard Indexed Database API would enable browsers to do this in a standard way for all such applications.

For the detail minded:

"This [ID API] specification provides a concrete API to perform advanced key-value data management that is at the heart of most sophisticated query processors. It does so by using transactional databases to store keys and their corresponding values (one or more per key), and providing a means of traversing keys in a deterministic order. This is often implemented through the use of persistent B-tree data structures that are considered efficient for insertion and deletion as well as in-order traversal of very large numbers of data records."

The proposed standard is in draft form and being vetted over the next few months. Then there will be a comments stage to go through after which the W3C will issue it as a recommendation and let browser and browser app developers use it. If it all comes good we might see the offline access to browser-stored data facility become real next year - maybe. ®

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