In association with heise online

18 September 2008, 13:13

Safari gets official Gears, with a tiny hack

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Google has released Gears for Safari officially and brought it in step with other versions of Gears on Windows and Linux. Previously, only an unsupported beta release of Gears 0.3 had been available.

Users can now have short-cut icons on the desktop created by a web application that uses Gears, making it simple to return to the off-line version of the web applications site. The new release also includes the other 0.4 functionality, Blobs, for large binary data storage and Geolocation, for location aware web applications.

The Safari version of Gears comes in two parts, a plugin and an InputManager. InputManagers are officially a way of allowing different input mechanisms for applications on Mac OS X, but in the past they have been used by developers to inject new functionality existing applications. Use of InputManagers in this way is frowned upon by Apple which has made attempts to restrict their use. Other Webkit based browsers, like Fluid, can just use the plug-in and do not have the issues that Safari has which requires the InputManager hack.

Heise online UK gave the new release of Gears a brief test with Google Docs. We found that the desktop short cuts and offline database worked as advertised, and it even felt that Google Docs was a little more responsive when Gears was being used. For more background on Gears, see the heise online UK feature "Gears takes web applications offline".


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