Innovative rich editors and local datastores

Several folks wrote in response to yesterday's item about making the browser a better writing instrument. Paul Everitt pointed me to Mozile, which is impressively demonstrated on its own home page if you view it in Mozilla or Firefox. I'd seen Mozile before and wondered about its all-JavaScript implementation. Paul agrees, and wishes it could be moved into a C++ XPCOM component or just woven directly into the browser's core. That'd be sweet!

David Mendels reminded me of the Flash Text Editor which is, again, impressively demonstrated on its home page. Again there are tradeoffs, and the sample document acknowledges them:

Flash is not fast enough to handle big amounts of text. Furthermore, TextEditor is doing lots of string parsing in the background which makes things slower.
The forthcoming Flash 8 runtime is said to be faster, we'll see if that makes a difference.

Steve Yen didn't have a text editor to recommend, but he's been playing around with a wild local database concept: SQL, implemented in JavaScript, backed by JSON (JavaScript Object Notation)! The Firefox-only prototype is here. This is, Steve says, a "shameless clone of the Ruby on Rails server-side MVC framework." Don't forget to click on the show me the code link, he adds. It opens up a pane at the bottom of the page in which the application is revealed to be a SPADE -- that is, a single page application with self-contained development environment. In this case that means you can view and edit both code and data, run tests, and even issue SQL queries.

The SPADE Wiki page asks: "Is SPADE worthwhile?" I think so. In my column on ActiveGrid I noted that its Application Builder works in standalone mode, against a local webserver and local database. If you can lower the activation threshold for developers, while preserving the option to scale up and out in deployment, it's a big win.

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