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Thread: Packaged Apps: The Chrome apps to look for

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    Packaged Apps: The Chrome apps to look for

    I know the majority of Chrome Web Store apps are nothing but glorified bookmarks, but a few (like Fiabee, several calculator apps, SourceKit, and to a small degree Launchpad, Ubuntu One, and Dropbox) are beginning to buck that trend.

    Enter Packaged Apps. All the apps in the Web Store use .crx files. However, those that only are shortcuts to Web apps have only one file in them: manifest.json. Those are hosted. The packaged ones, in contrast, use the "local_path" JSON attribute to package HTML files right into the CRX along with the manifest which provides the metadata.

    The benefit to this? Packaged apps can run offline! Because the entire app (including HTML documents and JavaScripts) installs locally, the user doesn't have to stay connected to the Internet to run such an app. Which goes to show just how foolish and blind many of the critics have been about Chrome OS.

    What do you think about apps being packaged into CRX files and installing locally? Do you think it is a good thing or not?
    Last edited by Kenny_Strawn; 04-26-2011 at 10:26 AM. Reason: Added links to Fiabee and to calculator apps in question

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    Also wanted to make a note about something: The reason why packaged apps install also on standard Chrome is for compatibility reasons. Google built Chrome OS with emphasis on compatibility with Chrome and the Web, which is why the majority of apps are hosted. But packaged apps can still install on Chrome. Why? See below:

    Suppose a user emails a file created in a packaged app, which is in a specific format, to a Windows user. If packaged Chrome OS apps couldn't run on standard Chrome and the file is exclusive to the packaged app, the file won't open. But because the apps can run in standard Chrome, the receptive user would be able to open the file with no problem, provided that they navigate to the Web Store and install the packaged app in question.

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    What pisses me off is that critics claim that there is no offline app support just because users have nothing but a Web browser. However, Web browsers do support extensions/plugins, and Packaged Apps are really nothing but extensions that install HTML files, which can easily be apps. Just because the UI may be a browser does *not* mean that offline app support doesn't exist. In my opinion, that borders on prejudice.

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    Any idea when Packaged Apps will go live, or when developers can publish them?

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