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In my last blog entry, I dealt with defining the ‘browser’ part of my blog’s title. It only seems fitting that I also talk about the other half of the title and answer the question, “What is it we are hoping to see?” Lots. Developments in the last year have added a whole range of possibilities to this simple picture. One example of this is the variety of new hosting options available. Previously, hosting a website at an ISP would often involve sharing both machine and database with other users. It was very rare that you could have root SSH access to your machine. Now, with cloud-based solutions such as Amazon EC2 that host virtual machines images, a perfectly legitimate answer to the question, “Where is your data living?” may be, “Dunno…somewhere in the world…it is in the cloud somewhere.”

The one that pops most readily to mind is Gears , an open source project focused on adding extra functionality to browsers. Although many ‘gears’ exist now, the project’s initial offerings were focused on storing data locally in the browser, introducing the possibility of offline web applications. In addition to creating offline applications, developers soon discovered that even online application could benefit from having a quick, local data store. Currently both MySpace and WordPress use Gears, not for offline access, but to enhance their online experience.

The question of where the data lives and how it gets there is bound to get more interesting as time goes on. Let’s peer behind the browser, and take a look…

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