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<HTML5 Recipes: Storage 101 ⁄ >

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In this recipe, we shall take a look at a key feature of HTML5 that is key to making powerful web applications. The area we shall be discussing is storage i.e. how your web applications can store application specific data and retain that data even across browser instances.

Quite often, the complain against web applications is that they always need a connection to the server to function well. However, the reality of our world is that at times, you do not have a connection at all. The key to making your web application compelling vis-a-vis other native applications (desktop applications) is to ensure that large parts of your application are able to work even without a connection. Additionally, if there is server side data that seldom changes, it does not make sense to fetch it again and again, thereby wasting network bandwidth.

As a first step to make web applications work offline, we need a storage API that allows the application to store application specific data and use it as needed. For e.g. imagine you are writing a web based game and need to store the current moves in an application, so that if the user were to come later later to the application, you can replay back the moves. There are many such cases of storing data locally. Currently, we have been trying to achieve offline storage via cookies but that is not sufficient. For several reasons: The amount of data that you can store is very limited. And cookies are also sent with every request/response, thereby wasting network bandwidth. Enter the Storage API that comes under the umbrella of HTML5

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