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Firefox 3 to go ‘off-line’?

I know, I know, that’s a naughty piece of headline writing, but I’m not wrong, I’m just being .. economical with the facts.h3

“When Firefox 3.0 is released later this year, the open-source browser is likely to contain a host of new features, including offline support for web applications and new bookmark and search features.”

At first glance, one has to wonder why – certainly in this day & age – we have to accommodate for off-line activities anymore. What with broadband access being a commodity for the most part, why make any provision at all for off-line editing?

I’ve been sitting on this article for a while, waiting for the time to give it some thought, and this being a Sunday, I now have the time to think.

“Perhaps most exciting could be Firefox’s ability to support writing an email in, for example, Gmail while offline, with the data sent later when a user is connected to the internet again. Ultimately, Mozilla engineers are aiming for an integration between the browser and web-based services that is as smooth running as a desktop application, Schroepfer said.”

What piques my interest here is how the guys ‘n’ gals over at Mozilla seem to be looking to what Flock have achieved.

However, for all of the cool stuff Flock can do, within the last couple of weeks have I moved from using Flock to Firefox, largely because Firefox now lets me do some of things Flock does by default.

In many respects, Flock has raised the bar in terms of how social tools can be added seamlessly into a web browser. The way in which Flickr and Del.icio.us have been rolled into Flock makes for a deeply useful web browser, and that’s to say nothing about Google Blogger integration, too.

But none of this would undermine what Flock has going for itself. Quite the opposite, in fact.

You see, Flock is a branch of the same code tree as Firefox. So whatever is built into Firefox could potentially offer major material benefits to Flock itself.

Similarly, there’s the Songbird media player, which is also an off-shoot, and an application to keep a close eye on, too.

A history of irrelevance

A pet hate of mine is history tools within web browsers. In the main, they’re all shit, and nothing to pick out as being useful between any of them. So any improvement in this regard can only be a good thing:

“Other changes could come to ‘bookmarks’ and ‘history’, two features that have seen relatively little innovation,… Mozilla would like to create a function where bookmarks could be automatically sorted based on popularity and frequency rather than the static presentation now.

Firefox 3.0 will also have a small, embedded database – SQL Lite – that will eventually be used for full-text indexing of the browser’s history. Users could search for images and text and see the cached page…”

This too is interesting because SQLite is built right into Mac OS X, which opens up all kinds of possibilities, not least the prospect of linking to data from within other applications.

The desktop is the new ‘net

All this talk of off-line editing really did get me thinking. You see, it’s something that Adobe have been talking about recently, although they used slightly different nomenclature:

“2007 will bring the launch of the much anticipated Adobe Apollo platform, a cross platform run time that will allow developers to take rich internet applications, whether they be built on Flash, HTML, JavaScript and / or Ajax, and turn them into desktop applications.”

When you look at what Adobe are doing with Apollo, you’re looking at a totally new class of application, one that clearly looks and sounds like what Mozilla have in mind when you look at the off-line editing features.

And I’d be willing to bet my pound to your penny that such a feature will be open with deep hooks reaching down into the very guts of Firefox, to really shake the web browser tree to see what other branch of applications might grow out and bear new fruits…

Recommended reading

By Wayne Smallman

Wayne is the man behind the Blah, Blah! Technology website, and the creator of the Under Cloud, a digital research assistant for journalists and academics.

2 replies on “Firefox 3 to go ‘off-line’?”

Hey Wayne,

Sorry to hear you’ve switched away from Flock (although I appreciate the compliments you gave us). I would encourage you to keep your eye on flock.com; we’re not done raising the bar. We have plenty more crazyawesome ideas that we’re really excited about.

Flock on,

Evan Hamilton
Flock Community Ambassador

evan at flock dot com

Hi Evan and thanks for your comments! I really appreciate you time.

I am a bit of a web browser gypsy, so I do move around, always looking for the next best thing.

I’ve written a short run-down of the top web browsers for the Mac, which might give you a little insight into why I made the move.

There’s a ton of things to like about Flock, the kind of stuff that’s going to win over a lot of people, I’m sure of that.

All the best and thanks again!

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