JavaScript library for offline-first web apps
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library
spool_client
tests
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README
spool_0.1.js
spool_0.2.js
spool_0.3.js

README

SPOOL
=====

A JavaScript library for offline-first web apps: create "resources that sync".

Aims:
- to assume the browser is offline by default / that remote resources are inaccessible by default
- a drop-in library that allows your existing JS to continue to work (jQuery only? or wrappers?)
- essentially: DropBox for AJAX
- when GETing, everything comes from the cache
- when PUTing, everything is PUT to the cache and that then syncs
- when POSTing, the cache is bypassed, since so many apps depend on an immediate response from a POST
- any changes in the remote data storage are synced to the cache whenever possible
- if there are conflicts between local data and remote data, we'll handle that in some way (Tony Garnock-Jones' JS diff'ing implementation comes to mind)
- to be used for a set of data you can list, so it's like a folder, not for all AJAX requests

Design:
1. assume that local is the only source of data
- override AJAX calls to access local cache and return error if resource not available - going with "404 Not Found" now, but is there a more suitable status code?

2. update cache from the server feed of changes
- notify app on retrieval

3. update cache for missing resources
- notify app on retrieval

At the moment, the bits that speak to the web and the bits that talk to storage are pretty linked; I'd quite like them to be separate and communicate via the events.

Changes in behaviour when using Spool:
Spool replaces jQuery.ajax to provide these changes in behaviour:
- GET: returns a 404 if the resource is not in the cache
- POST: NO CHANGE (apps rely too frequently on POST having a particular effect)
- PUT: returns 204 and saves the resource to the cache, which triggers a "SpoolResourceSaved" event; Spool tries to sync the resource
- DELETE: not supported yet - it will behave the same as PUT

SPOOL events:
All event are triggered on the document.

1. when cache is loaded, "SpoolCacheLoaded"
2. when refreshing cache, "SpoolCacheRefreshing"
3. when cache is updated, with local or remote, "SpoolCacheUpdated"
4. when a resource is saved to the local storage, "SpoolResourceSaved"
5. when a resource is synced to the remote storage, "SpoolResourceSynced"
6. if a resource sync fails, "SpoolResourceSyncFail"

Demo app (spool_client/static/index.html):
Effectively, a resource editor that sync's with a remote server.

This spool_client folder contains the files you need to run the example, which expects to run on TiddlyWeb (http://tiddlyweb.com). The demo will work fine from a file URI, although writing requires you to point it at a server you can modify.

An awesome demo would be:
1. You load up the app, and the cache is refreshed, showing you a bunch of resources. You edit a resource and the change propagates to the server. Then you disconnect the wifi/ethernet, make a bunch of changes, which you see stack up in an unsynced changes pool, and then connect back to the wifi/ethernet, at which point you hit a sync button to get things back in sync.
2. As above, except that while you are offline, some new resources are created, which you download and get a notification about when you connect again.
3. As above, except that while you are offline, the same resources you are editing are edited; when you reconnect, the conflict is pointed out, a local conflicted copy is kept for you to delete eventually, and you can fix the conflict and resync.

Drop-in demo's:
1. Add to a TiddlyWiki, go through steps 1-3 above. Have some little spool viewer that shows you the state of things.
2. Add to an app speaking to CouchDB or MongoDB - perhaps have the app run on node.js. Go through steps 1-3 above.
3. Add to a real-time app. Go through steps 1-3 above.