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Re: Offline capable devices/solutions

From: <mikael.lundahl@intentia.se>
Date: Tue, 25 Sep 2001 14:18:14 +0100
To: www-di@w3.org
Message-ID: <OF025C402E.946ED8A1-ON41256AD2.004506DD@intentia.se>

>> Is there an ambition from the DIP Working Group to cover issues related
to
>> offline capable solutions? My vision is that the user shouldn't have to
>> know whether he is working online or offline, i.e. the entire framework
has
>> to handle these circumstances transparently to the user.

>Transparency will not be achievable in many circumstances - for example,
>when clicking a link to some static content that has not been cached in
>the device (due perhaps to storage limitations), or when accessing real-
>time information.
>
>Given that offline browsing is already implemented in many devices, I
>would be interested to hear what additional requirements you believe are
>necessary that the DI Working Group might need to consider.

Maybe I'd better give one example scenario related to the software
solutions (ERP) that Intentia is working with  where offline transparency
would be benefitial:
Service technicians must be able of reading service assignment information
so that they know when and where to go, what to do and what pre-requisites
they need to perform before visiting the service site. While they are
working on a case they must update information such as when they start and
stop working, what parts they have used and order parts that are missing in
their service vans. Most of these tasks are fully possible to perform in
offline mode where they would need to keep all relevant data on their
device. However, the preferred, and therefore default, method of accessing
the service should be online. But if the technician goes to areas where he
is not able of connecting (which he often is according to our customers) he
must still use his device to read and update information in order to work
according to the service technician process.
From my point of view the access method (in this case online or offline)
ought to be fully transparent to the technician as long as he is not
requesting an operation that requires online connection. This is combining
the best from two worlds as I see it. This offline capability is not, at
least in our case, aimed for use with all available devices but aimed at
those providing reasonable resources regarding computing, memory and
storage. Most service technicians use different types of PDA s and laptops
while on the field and hence we need to support a number of different
device types with our applications.

From this example I can list some problem areas that involve "DI
components":
- Grouping of presentation pages into "applications".
- Distribution and versioning of applications and their components (data,
logic and presentation) to the different client types for offline usage.
Each client type must get the presentations suiable for its properties.
- Synchronization of data between client and server, i.e. batch management
of updating requests.

I'm just curious to see whether the problem areas above have been discussed
at all within the DI WG and if the ambition is to provide some guidelines
in this area. I mean offline access to web content is just another
dimension of "making the Web accessible anytime and anyhow" which is the
focus of the DI WG.

Regards
Micke

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Mikael Lundahl
Intentia Research and Development (IRD)
Box 1521, S-581 15 Linköping, Sweden
Email          : mikael.lundahl@intentia.se
Company info   : http://www.intentia.com
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Received on Tuesday, 25 September 2001 08:17:30 GMT

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