portable clouds vs packages

How is a portable cloud different than a package containing multiple files?

“Portable clouds” is a name for the idea that the “cloud” of the Internet is / can be made portable by copying portions of it onto your local networks, desktops and portable devices. Another way to say this is: really great replication and caching of the web.

On the one hand you have web pages that can easily move from host to host and URL to URL, like single page applications. Apps that use local storage (a feature of HTML5) rather than databases, for example.

On the other hand you have containers with multiple files in them, like the epub format for ebooks. Epub is a zip file whose contents are structured according to an industry standard. The contents are mainly HTML.

They’re evolving into the same place, or maybe they’re two different technology lineages competing for the same niche.

See also CMX.

One thought on “portable clouds vs packages

  1. (I was offline / camping when you wrote this, and just saw it today!)

    I think history shows that containers / packages are an important part of distributing digital information. And, specifically, I think ZIP-type files that package together other files are always going to be super useful.

    Safari can save any web page (and it’s parts) as a “web archive,” and, just playing with that, I think it’s pretty easy to imagine some interesting things one could do if that were a universal format supported across browsers and the web.

    But, the other thing that’s interesting–that gets more into the “portable cloud” aspect of HTML, is that each web page is, itself, a kind-of container / package. That is, when you see how the browser uses the HTML as it relates to JPGs and other media files, the browser brings together all of these separate elements (all over the web, or all over your local machine, or both) into a singular “object” that one can interact with.

    One other feature then is the browser cache with regards to all these files: not only is the browser bringing together separate elements, but it is efficiently caching local copies to make “playback” more rapid.

    So, the portable cloud potential that I think is really interesting is if those two functions: bringing together separate elements (linked in HTML) and local caching, can happen outside of any one browser.

    (The main issue to avoid is having the information you find valuable locked inside your browser as a second class citizen. That info should be more independently contained / managed — and managed in a more first-class manner, e.g., at least as a set of normal files in a folder.)

    Again, a ZIP-like format that all browsers recognize could be part of that equation, for sure.

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