Feb 21

Google Gears API supported by Aptana Jaxer

Gears, Google, JavaScript, Tech with tags: , No Comments »

Man I love it when I can delete code. Seeing the line count go away and leaving a small amount of text is a sight for sore eyes. I got to delete a lot of code today thanks to the kind folks at Aptana.

I recently wrote a shim that allows the Google Gears API to run as is on the server side. It wraps the Gears Database API with the Jaxer one.

What is particularly cool about this is that you can then write some code and:

  • If the user has Gears installed, it runs client-side
  • If the user doesn’t have Gears installed just run it on the server

I want to setup a nice way to make this trivial to setup.

The majority of the code was a simple wrapper around the result set, so Aptana decided to directly support the Gears API itself which allowed me to get rid of it all!

This makes the shim as simple as this:

// -- Wrap this code so it is available if using a proxy call
function oncallback() {
  // Make up the namespaces to mimic Gears and a place for Jaxer holders
  google = {}; google.gears = {}; google.gears.factory = {}; google.gears.jaxer = {};
  // Create sets up a database instance to be used
  google.gears.factory.create = function(className, version) {
    if (className.indexOf('database') < 0) {
      throw new Error('I can only do Database work right now');
    return new google.gears.jaxer.Db();
// -- The Database Wrapper
  google.gears.jaxer.Db = function() {
    this.db = null;
  google.gears.jaxer.Db.prototype.open = function(name) {
    this.db = new Jaxer.DB.SQLite.Connection({
      PATH: 'resource:///../data/' + name + '.sqlite',
  google.gears.jaxer.Db.prototype.execute = function(sqlStatement, argArray) {
    var rs = (argArray) ? this.db.execute(sqlStatement, argArray) : this.db.execute(sqlStatement);
    return rs;

Philip Maker has also taken GearsORM and made it work with Jaxer. Very cool indeed.

Feb 05

Google Gears Database API on the Server

Gears, Google, JavaScript, Tech with tags: , , 2 Comments »

As soon as I started to play with Aptana Jaxer, I saw an interesting opportunity to port the Google Gears Database API (note the Gears in the logo!)

If I could use the same API for both client and server side database access, then I can be enabled to do things like:

  • Use one API, and have the system do a sync from local to remote databases
  • If the user has JavaScript, use a local database, else do the work remotely
  • Share higher level database libraries and ORMs such as Gears DBLib for use on server side data too

I quickly built a prototype to see if this would all work.

The Jaxer shim of the Gears API was born, and to test it out I took the database example from Gears itself and made it work.

To do so, I only had to make a few changes:

Run code on the server

I changed the main library to run on the server via:

<script type="text/javascript" src="gears_init.js" runat="server"></script>

I wrapped database access in proxy objects, such as:

function addPhrase(phrase, currTime) {
  getDB().execute('insert into Demo values (?, ?)', [phrase, currTime]);
addPhrase.proxy = true;

This now allows me to run the addPhrase code from the browser, and it will be proxied up to the server to actually execute that INSERT statement.

This forced me to separate the server side code from the client side code, which is a better practice anyway, but it does make you think about what goes where. In a pure Gears solution I can put everything in one place since it all runs on the client.

Create the new gears_init.js

A new gears_init.js acts as the shim itself. Instead of doing the typical Gears logic, it implements the Gears database contract. This wasn’t that tough, although there are differences between the Gears way, and the Jaxer.DB way. The main difference is to do with the ResultSet implementation, where Gears goes for a rs.next()/rs.field(1) type model versus the Jaxer.DB rs.rows[x] model.

I actually much prefer Gears DBLib as it hides all of that, and just gives the programmer what he wants… the rows to work on.

oncallback magic

In the current Jaxer beta, I ran into an issue where I wanted the Gears library to just “be there” for any proxy requests.

You have to think about the lifecycle of a Jaxer application, and the documentation tells you what you need to know to work around the issue.

In this case, I wrapped the code in:

function oncallback() {
  // create the wrapper here

This is less than idea, and Aptana is playing with nice scoping which would enable you to just say “hey, load this library once and keep it around for the lifetime of the server | application | session | page”. That will be very nice indeed.

You can do a little bit of this by opening up your jaxer_prefs file and adding the resource for your file:

// This option sets up an html document that will be loaded
// everytime a callback is processed.  This has to be a local file.
// If not specified, an empty document will be loaded.
// pref("Jaxer.dev.LoadDocForCallback", "resource:///framework/callback.html");


This is just the beginning. As I mentioned at the beginning, I am interested to see where you can take this to handle clients who do not support JavaScript, and also to deal with synchronization with minimal code (sync from local to remote with exactly the same SQL API).

Jan 23

2008: Year of Server Side JavaScript?

JavaScript, Tech, Web Frameworks with tags: , 1 Comment »

Michael Mahemoff has been playing with server side JavaScript too.

I too haven’t heard of half of the list of Server Side JavaScript frameworks on Wikipedia, although it is certainly interesting to remember that Netscape did JavaScript on the server waaaay back in time.

At the same time, Aptana is trying to define an “Ajax server” with todays release of Jaxer. At first glimpse you can see some of the other frameworks, but it certainly is doing a lot more.

Michael hits on one of the key points when he talks about deployment:

Try finding a virtual host that supports Javascript! You would practically need one that support Java, so you can run Rhino or whatever, and few virtual hosts do that. At least Python and Ruby were running on many virtual hosts before Django and Rails showed up. For that reason, the model pursued by AppJet seems worthy. If they can come up with a solid virtualisation environment for Javascript, they may be on to a big winner.

I want to be able to hit “DEPLOY” or “PUBLISH” and have that be the only way I interact with production applications from now on (with the ability to roll back and scale out). When someone nails that, we will see a lot of applications coming out.

Maybe TheServerSide.com should become “Your JavaScript Community”?