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back to article Google digs 6-foot hole for Gears

Google wonks have ended development of the company's Gears application platform, less than three years since its release. The Gears API had been created by Mountain View as something of an elixir for developers who wanted to support offline access of their apps. However, Google's allegiance has now shifted to the HTML5 API that …

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Anonymous Coward

GWT

I wonder how long it will be before GWT goes down the hole after gears?

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Ooops

Damn, I blinked and missed its entire existence.

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Might or was?

"Ultimately the search giant's shift over to HTML5 may in fact have been part of a long-term strategy at Mountain View, with the Gears API platform serving simply as a temporary doorstop while the company developed Chrome."

Ya think? http://almaer.com/blog/gears-as-a-bleeding-edge-html-5-implementation

Google stated from the off, that they would like nothing more that for Gears to be redundant when the browser manufacturers (all of the main ones anyway) got their acts together and implemented the Gears features in a standards compliant way (e.g. HTML 5).

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Bit early to write if off

HTML5 is a draft standard that hardly anyone implements at the moment.. really gears won't disappear until there's good support in both IE and Firefox (and IE8 is ubiquitous, which won't happen for years.. hell, it's still pretty much mandatory to code for IE6 compatibility and IE7 is still in the rollout process in most companies) - both of which have 'bits' of support but missing quite a bit, so you're stuck with the overlap of functionality of the two.

I'd just be happy if they'd get the video tag sorted.. but only Chrome and Safari support that (FF has a nonstandard ogg version that's about as much use as a chocolate teapot).

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Anonymous Coward

"HTML 5 is a draft Standard..."

And will become a recommendation, no doubts. Personally, I code for the web; semantic XHTML and CSS. This extremely well written site explains why succinctly:

http://dowebsitesneedtolookexactlythesameineverybrowser.com/

It's time we got over pixel perfection. It just isn't feasible. I have yet to have a client complain about a site rendering differently in IE, as at the start of the contract I've taken the time to educate them.

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OGG = nonstandard?

"FF has a nonstandard ogg version that's about as much use as a chocolate teapot"

Oh an open standard? Like HTML itself? One that won't have the lawyers knocking on the door in five years' time? Yea I'll take ogg thanks.

Not that I intend to succumb to the joke that is HTML5 any time soon...

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Grenade

Video standard

> FF has a nonstandard ogg version that's about as much use as a chocolate teapot

Considering that there is no codec defined in the standard, OGG (as supported by FF, Opera and Chrome) is neither more nor less standard than H.264 (as supported by Safari and Chrome). The difference is that OGG is an open standard while H.264 is encumbered by patents. And considering that HTML5's video tag is meant to provide an open standard way to do video in a browser without requiring Flash (which is the main reason why H.264 is so prevalent today), it's not completely absurd to consider OGG as a good codec for the video tag.

That's the problem with standards: once you start specifying something, you have to specify it all the way in non-ambiguous terms, otherwise you end up with different implementation that all rightfully claim to follow the standard. This is exactly why the HTML we commonly see in the wild today is such a bewildering tag soup (that and the fact that some people decided to unilaterally "extend" the standard). Unfortunately, writing good, complete and non-ambiguous specifications is extremely hard. And it gets even harder when some of the people involved in writing that spec have differing political agendas, such as Apple for H.264 and FF for OGG. However, in this case, I definitely side with Firefox.

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People still code for IE6...

...because it *doesn't* adhere to standards. People use IE6 because there are sites (generally internal to their organisation, as far as I can tell) that don't work with anything else. There are far fewer sites that only work with IE7, so when IE8 came along, most IE7 users were able to upgrade straight away. I imagine IE9 will be the same, but more so, and IE9 *will* come, because MS know that they can't leave HTML5 to the competition.

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Boffin

Problem with OGG

... is that using that thingy means downloading stuff into your PC. Codec-hunting. Which is fine for techy, nerdy guys like us, but extremely annoying for common users who want their stuff to "just work".

The day that MS includes OGG codecs on its OS will be the day that OGG gains universal adoption. Otherwise, it is only another hoop to jump for "normal" users.

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Standards work for me

More of an upgrade than dumping Gears really

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Anonymous Coward

Chrome, the new IE

So which other HTML5 compliant browser does the job of Gears?

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Main

"many tech writers wet their pants over Gears, but in essence it was Google's lacklustre attempt to take on Microsoft."

Gears was only one single part of Google's attempt to take on Microsoft. The whole game has yet to play out, so it seems a little premature to call it lacklustre - I think everyone knows that Microsoft _will_ die, this questions are: when, and who will deliver the killer blow. My bet is that (like IE6) it will be a long lingering death, and that it will be MS itself who will eventually pull the trigger. In other words, it will be the combined strength of all other parties, not just a single clever idea.

Oh, and OGG may be good (it isn't) but as long as H264 is preferred by the content creators it could be 100 times better without having a chance of becoming the 'one and only' codec.

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