Improving ApplicationCache for Real World Web Apps

Author: Peter Lubbers, Senior Director of Technical Communication, Kaazing

Background and Bio:

My name is Peter Lubbers. I co-authored the book Pro HTML5 Programming (Apress, 2010, with a chapter on Application Cache) and I started the San Francisco HTML5 User Group. In the last year, I have given presentations about building offline web applications at HTML5 User Groups in San Francisco, New York, Paris, and London. Finally, I am writing this proposal in a Mozilla T-shirt that I received for helping with a substantial rewrite of the MDN article about Application Cache ;-)

In your call for participation, you mention, "the current fragmentation in the solution space is creating confusion among would-be WebApp developers and organizations who would otherwise invest in the Open Web Platform." That is a very good point and a situation I would like to avoid and with a focused effort I think we can achieve this.

In the last 18 months, in my job as an HTML5 Trainer, I have been acting as somewhat of a tour guide, helping more than a thousand training attendees (from companies small and large) through the minefield of creating offline web applications for today's desktop and mobile browsers.

I have run into countless quirks and although browser support has come a long way in a short period, there is still more work to do. I am very excited about the promise of HTML5 Offline Web Applications and would love to have the opportunity to help shape their future. I am ready to help in any way I can!

I think I can safely say that the number one problem developers face when they first deploy their offline web applications is that the manifest (*.appcache files) is not served with the right mime type. At the company I work for (Kaazing) we build a WebSocket server that doubles as an HTTP server. To speed up adoption of offline web applications, we have tried to do our share in terms of evangelism, but we have also implemented proper mime type serving for *.appcache and *.manifest files (text/cache-manifest) to speed up adoption of the offline web app standard.

Position, Suggestions, and Request for Clarification:

There are several ApplicationCache areas for which I would like to propose some improvements and clarification: