Offline Support

3DTin now implements HTML5 offline caching. That means, you can open http://www.3dtin.com even when you are not connected to internet (provided you have at least once visited the site from the same browser before).

You will be able play around with the editor even when you are offline. (However at present, you need to be online if you want to save the sketches, load any previously saved ones. Also gallery won’t be available offline. This will improve in future.)

If you are Chrome App user of 3DTin, then you must have noticed that the latest update v0.96 has changed the app from packaged app to hosted app. What that means is, the chrome app now does not come packaged with all the scripts and images – which made it usable offline and also load faster when online. Look at ‘Packaged Chrome app’ as a feature that Google Chrome browser provides so that the webapps can cache their resources for offline usage. However this feature is specific to Chrome and won’t work in other browsers. A standard method that works across all modern browsers is HTML5 offline caching. Therefore 3DTin decided to switch to a more standards-compliant solution for offline caching.

Note that, this change will NOT affect Chrome app users in any negative way. Before they were downloading a .crx file of the size ~300kb, now they will be downloading a .crx file of size 7kb, because all the resources that were shipped in .crx file will be loaded and cached from the website when they first visit it by clicking on the app icon. They will see no change in 3DTin usage for subsequent loads. Another popular Chrome web store app that implements same strategy is the NYTimes app

This change also makes it easy for me to maintain 3DTin. Now when I have to deploy a new feature I will only have to push it out once – to the website and don’t have to update the Chrome app too. Chrome app users will automatically see the updated features, because the browser will update the offline cache when they visit the site next time.

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