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A better idea for offline web apps

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bitplane
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Joined: 2006-10-06 07:00
A better idea for offline web apps

I'm not sure if this qualifies as a request or it's just a pipe-dream, but I thought I'd share it just on the off-chance that it inspires someone to do the work! (I have too much on at the moment to attempt it myself)

My dream stems from the fact that I want a portable MediaWiki for notes, but I don't like the idea of starting two servers to access it.
The idea for a generic solution is a free software OS agnostic offline HTML5 application platform which doesn't require any form of server (not even a TCP/IP stack), nor a need for a HTML5 compliant browser, and runs quickly even on slow drives.

First replace the socket libs with a simple TCP emulation layer which doesn't need to open real ports etc. Then do the same with disk access; a VFS in a disk image for maximum caching and minimum seeking. Hack a lightweight web server to use these disk and network libraries, add PHP into the mix and use SQLite instead of MySQL.

For the GUI, a simple frame using Win32, X11, Cocoa or whatever OS it's currently compiled for, wrapping an instance of WebKit which also has the disk and network redirected. Build all of this into a single binary so you have only two files to copy/install:

1) The executable which would be like Microsoft's CHM viewer, yet much, much more powerful.

2) A disk image, which becomes a platform independent, offline only web application.

I'm sure that there will be a million uses for such a platform in the future, I just can't think of one right now, other than a personal wiki!