Firefox offline browsing


Firefox is developing some interesting offline capabilities for the next version. The idea is that you can go offline and continue working in web-based applications as if you were still connected, which needs all the scripts and data to be temporarily stored locally. According to posts last month from Chris Double and Robert O'Callahan, this involves marking necessary resources with <link rel="offline-resource"> (rather than using rel="enclosure", which is fair enough, but I don't know why they're using 'link' and not 'a') and bundling everything up into a jar (zip) archive.

This is how I'd like to see papers published for on- and offline use from now on, rather than PDF:

  1. an XHTML document with CSS stylesheets for screen, handheld and print
  2. all the images, data, 'accessed on' caches of web pages and supplementary data marked as 'offline-resource'
  3. an XML file containing the bibliographic metadata as MODS or RDF

Firefox would bundle all this up into an archive, which could be opened on any device that supported the archive format, dragged into a word processor or bibliographic manager to cite the paper, printed out, or annotated using javascript - all in a self-contained archive.

See also: Zotero and compound documents.