LinkedIn Tech Talk: Brad Neuberg on Gears

July 31, 2008

On Tuesday, Brad Neuberg from Google's Developer Program visited LinkedIn's headquarters in Mountain View to give a presentation on Gears to the engineering department as part of our series of LinkedIn Tech Talks.

Gears is an open source project that enables more powerful web applications, and provides for a better user experience with a cross-browser plugin. Gears gets installed on a user's machine (the same way any other plugin like Adobe Acrobat Reader does), and then provides a local database, worker pool, and a local web server.

The database is a full-featured SQLite DB which provides SQL queries, views, triggers, full text search, and the ability to store gigs of user data locally. The local server can allow you to run web apps offline by storing HTML, CSS, images, etc., but in managed, versioned bundles which can be downloaded in the background, and it does not get cleared when the user clears the browser's cache. Using it is much better than relying on the normal browser cache. The worker pool gives you the ability to send tasks for background processing off to Gears, so that JavaScript code can be run asynchronously without blocking the main script running in the browser. This is perfect for dealing with any number crunching, long DB queries, or communication with remote servers. Google has more information in their API docs.

Afterwards, Brad stayed around to discuss how different engineering groups at LinkedIn could use Gears to give our users a better user experience and more powerful features.

Although we don't have Brad's talk at LinkedIn online for you to see, here is another presentation on Gears that Brad gave at Google I/O 2008.

I'm impressed with Gears and some of the demos, and real applications like Remember The Milk that I've seen using it. I'm sure we could make use of this technology to dramatically improve the user experience for many LinkedIn users in areas like the homepage, network updates, address book, and corporate solutions.

NOTE: This entry was published with Brad Neuberg's permission.