Web Browser indexDB = Sucks!

The Javascript programming language has become so powerful that really good applications can be developed and run inside a web browser. Free Javascript modules are also available with great widgets to make your ‘web browser-based’ app look and act like a real native application. After developing such a web browser app, I decided to convert it to a Google Chrome Packaged App so it can be installed and run on the Google Chromebooks.

As I discovered, there were lots of pitfalls with regards to writing Chrome Apps. Here are a few that I ran into:

  • WebSQL disabled – It turns out that the Web Browser consortium (whomever they are) decided to dump the WebSQL (SQLite) database system for HTML5 and go with something called indexDB. From what I can tell, indexDB is not a relational database system, but rather an indexed named-pair flat file concept. I think it was a bad move dumping the SQLite database system (which is well established) for some less featured system that is more complicated to code up.
  • Security Policies – There are lots of policies in place for security that handcuffs Javascript development with Chrome Apps. For example, I’m trying to use some Javascript modules that use the eval() function and they are prohibited in a Chrome App. As such, I can’t use those modules and have very limited tools available to me.

Because of all this, it seems you can only write Chrome Apps that are very limited and follow the strict protocols defined by Google. I understand the need for security, but these policies really limit what you can do. That’s too bad, since Javascript app development can really produce some great, functional apps!

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