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May 04, 2007

Slingshot: Offline Rails applications

Now this could be big. Joyent have released Slingshot. Slingshot is a framework for enabling Rails web applications to run on the desktop in offline mode, synchronising their data with an online, server-based version, if and when needed.

This blurs the line further between web and desktop applications.

Slingshot packages a Rails application for local execution on the desktop, with a local SQLite database. The framework provides a "Sync Up/Down" menu option to allow the local version to synchronise its data with the online version of the application. Here's a screenshot using Radiant CMS in offline mode:

On the Mac, the offline Radiant CMS is downloaded as a native Mac OS X application package and is installed and executed just like a regular Mac application. I haven't seen any Windows examples yet.

This framework offers some interesting possibilities, and it will be interesting to see how it develops. Source code will be released, according to Joyent, next month under a GPL license. In the meantime a competition is being launched for developers Slignshotting (?) their existing Rails applications.

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