Attention Delicious bookmarking fans, time is running out to transition your bookmarks to the updated, launching-soon Delicious website.
Current Delicious users have until September 23, 2011 to transfer their data and accept the new terms of service. If you don’t move your data by then your bookmarks will disappear forever.
After years of languishing at Yahoo, Delicious, the original king of online bookmarking, was purchased by AVOS, a new company from YouTube creators Chad Hurley and Steven Chen.
The transfer of ownership means that existing users need to agree to the new terms of service before Delicious can relaunch. You can read over the new terms on the AVOS website. If you prefer not to be part of the new Delicious, but would still like to grab your bookmarks before they go poof, you can do so using Delicious’ export tools.
Offline Gmail is back. Originally built around Google’s Gears plugin, the company announced earlier this year that it was pulling the Gears-based feature and rewriting it to use HTML5 and web standards. Now offline Gmail is back (along with offline support for Google Docs and Calendar) and no longer requires the Gears browser add-on.
Offline Gmail does, however, require the Google Chrome web browser. In fact, the offline version of Gmail is an entirely separate app you’ll need to install through the Chrome Web Store. The Web Store app is based on the Gmail web app for tablets and uses a widescreen layout that will look familiar to anyone using Gmail on an iPad or the new three-pane mail interface.
Unfortunately, the offline app for Gmail is just that, a separate web app. You won’t be able to use Gmail offline simply by clicking a button in the regular web interface. Rather you’ll need to install the offline Gmail app and switch over to that interface whenever you’re offline.
And that’s not the only downside to this release. Offline Gmail will only give you access to the last three to seven days’ worth of email (the exact amount will vary depending on how many messages you get each day). All of your starred messages will also be available, but beyond that you’re out of luck — there’s no way to, for example, download a specific tag or set of messages for offline use.
Things are even worse in the offline version of Google Docs which, for now, is limited to read-only access — not exactly helpful when you’re trying to finish that report sans wifi.
Google says these issues are temporary and that the offline support is a work in progress, but given the extremely limited functionality one wonders why they were released at all. Of course Google’s motto is release early, release often; clearly they’ve released early, hopefully the often will kick in soon.
In the mean time if you need offline access to your email, we suggest a traditional desktop client.
Mozilla has launched an ambitious new project aimed at breaking down the proprietary app systems on today’s mobile devices. The project, dubbed WebAPI, is Mozilla’s effort to provide a consistent, cross-platform, web-based API for mobile app developers.
Using WebAPI, developers would write HTML5 applications rather than native apps for iOS, Android and other mobile platforms.
Mozilla isn’t just talking about WebAPI, it’s already hard at work. It plans to develop the APIs necessary to provide “a basic HTML5 phone experience” within six months. After that the APIs will be submitted to the W3C for standardization.
Among the APIs Mozilla wants to develop are a telephone and messaging API for calls and SMS, a contacts API, a camera API and half a dozen more.
So, why the new effort from Mozilla? Well, Mozilla’s WebAPI is a part of its larger Boot to Gecko Project, which aims to eventually develop an operating system that emphasizes standards-based web technologies. With that end goal in mind, WebAPI may end up somewhat different than what the W3C is trying to build.
It’s also possible that Mozilla simply doesn’t want to wait for the Device APIs Working Group. Mozilla wants WebAPI up and running in a mere six months, the W3C’s Device APIs Work Group is unlikely to move that fast. But “the idea is to collaborate with W3C and all players and together form a good solution, and not just dump it on them,” says Mozilla Technical Evangelist Robert Nyman in a comment on his post announcing WebAPI.
The dream of write-once, run-anywhere software is nothing new and, if history is any guide, Mozilla’s WebAPI efforts may well be doomed. The open source giant does have one thing going for it that most other efforts have not — the open web. Most write-once, run-anywhere attempts have come from companies like Adobe and were built around proprietary frameworks. WebAPI doesn’t suffer from vender lock-in the way some projects have. WebAPI’s main roadblock is convincing other mobile web browsers to support the APIs.
For WebAPI to appeal to developers, Mozilla will need Apple, Google and other mobile browser makers to implement the APIs so that WebAPI can compete with native applications. Before you dismiss that as an impossibility, bear in mind that Apple’s original vision for iOS app development was based around HTML applications, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a company more eager to embrace web apps than Google. Whether either company will devote any resources to implementing WebAPI remains to be seen. But if Mozilla can get WebAPI standardized by the W3C other browser makers would likely support it.
Web Developer Evan Wallace has released one of the more impressive WebGL demos we’ve seen.
Provided you’re using a capable browser (Firefox, Chrome or Safari), head on over to Wallace’s WebGL Water demo and be amazed.
If you stay abreast of the latest and greatest in web browsers you’ve probably heard of WebGL, an API for adding hardware-accelerated 3D rendering to the HTML5 Canvas tag. The WebGL API is based on OpenGL, a desktop graphics standard, which means WebGL will run on many different devices — your laptop, your phone, even your TV.
Firefox 6+, Google Chrome and the latest version of Apple’s Safari all support WebGL (in Safari you’ll need to enable WebGL under the developer tools menu). There’s also an experimental build of Opera with WebGL support.
If you’re stuck with Internet Explorer, Vimeo user Ivan Enderlin posted this video which shows Firefox rendering the WebGL Water demo.