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Posted by on May 24, 2008 in wordpress | 21 comments

WordPress 2.6 and Google Gears

WordPress 2.6 and Google Gears

ANOTHER UPDATE: WordPress 2.6 is out. When you’ve finished reading the article below (which I recommend :-) ), come watch the video about it’s new features in my post “WordPress 2.6 is out and it’s Turbo Charged

So, there I was, having just upgraded my local Windows installation of WordPress so that I could update one of my plugins when I noticed a new piece of text on the top right hand side of my screen:

Speed Up!

Little update: It would appear that this has now been renamed to “Turbo”

Who is WordPress to tell ME, the king of speed on a PC, to SPEED UP!?!?!
;-)

But, always one to improve on a process, I clicked it, and this is what I saw:

WordPress 2.6 and Google Gears helps speed things up while blogging

What is Google Gears?

Google Gears is a browser add-on from Google that enables web applications such as Google Reader and Google Docs to feel more like an offline application like MS Word or Excel.

It does this by storing information on your machine allowing you to read, edit and update “data” from the internet without actually being connected. And then, the next time you connect to the internet it synchronises with the website, uploading any changes you’ve made, and downloading any changes/updates that have been made on the site.

At least, that’s the very basic explanation of it.

Google Gears and WordPress

So, how about an example, using your friendly neighbourhood blogging platform?

Having installed the Google Gears plugin for my browser, I clicked the “Enable Google Gears” button, and this is what I saw:

WordPress using Google Gears to download required information to speed things up

As you can see, my browser is downloading all the information it needs so that WordPress doesn’t need to connect to the internet for certain information.

What has WordPress made faster

As a side note and introduction to what has been sped up, here’s a little rant.

I personally LOVE the changes that were implemented with WordPress 2.5.

But, some of the new features (and features I’ve just started using now that I use the Visual Editor) just aren’t as cool thanks to the not-so-great internet speeds in South Africa.

For example, if you want to create a link. Every time you click the link icon in the editor’s toolbar, it has to download the same stuff over and over…

Well, it looks to me like the WordPress Google Gears implementation has solved that. The link and the “insert embedded media” popups are now instantaneous!

WordPress using Google Gears to help speed up the process of adding a link

Thank you to whoever decided to do this.

It also seems that switching between each “pane” in the admin section is a LOT faster… Believe me, working on the South African tubes (via iBurst), this makes a HUGE difference!

Google will be PROUD!

All I can say is, this is going to give Google Gears the much needed attention that they’ve so far been lacking. Especially since out of all Google’s products, it’s only the Google Reader and Google Docs products that utilise Google Gears.

21 Comments

  1. how did you get an install of wordpress 2.6?????

  2. You can read my vague instructions here: “Try out WordPress 2.5

    Or, even better, subscribe to my RSS feed and I’ll try writing up a tutorial on how to do it… :-)

  3. but thats 2.5 – you’re posting about 2.6….

  4. Yip. But near the bottom I mention how I downloaded the latest version of WP (which, at the time was 2.5) from SVN using TortoiseSVN.

    It’s the same way I downloaded 2.6. I’m downloading the code from the SVN code repository

  5. ahhh – i see know
    cheers

  6. i’m a little stumped here… will this only work on copies of wordpress that are installed locally? or any copy running the latest version of wordpress in the svn?

  7. @Matt: This is the self-hosted WordPress.org version of WordPress. So it should work with any installation of WordPress you have, whether on your local machine or hosted at GoDaddy…

    I’m not sure about WordPress.com… I don’t really use that.

  8. Cool – i’m going to have to try this out then. I only use selfhosted wordpress – I guess I just have to grab the latest version.

  9. I just updated an install to the latest svn version and i didn’t get this option. who knows.

  10. I just tried this – and i didn’t see any speed up link anywhere in the back office.

  11. Hmmm… I JUST downloaded the latest version (2.6-bleeding2) and at the top right of the page I still see the “Speed Up!” link…

    What does it say at the very bottom of your admin page about what version you’re using?

  12. Being hip on WordPress, I took a closer look at it and read the Google Gears developer docs. Basically, it’s caching all the static content locally. This includes CSS, Javascript, images, Flash, everything that does not run through a hunk of PHP code somewhere. And you’re right, TinyMCE gets a significant performance boost because of this, especially on slow connections. But the rest of the admin panel will be a bit snappier too.

    Note that this is just the beginnings of support, I think. Gears not only offers local client side caching, but a local client side database as well as some nifty asynchronous Javascript stuff as well. The database stuff might be next to make it into WordPress.

  13. Does it go so far as to allow offline editing yet like Docs, or just the speed improvement?

  14. @Dave:

    For the first time since I started blogging, I can see the benefit of separating the pingbacks from the user comments :-)

    Anyway, in answer to your question, no it doesn’t allow you to edit your posts while offline. I don’t see why that function won’t be available in later versions of WordPress, but this version is just enabling the caching of javascript and image files used in the admin section of WordPress.

    Hope this helps.

  15. I had to deactivate the Drop Down Admin Plugin by ozh in order to be able to see the ‘Speed up!’ link in the upper right of the admin.

    Trying now…

  16. Thanks for letting me know where to look ! I had seen the feature description on the WordPress 2.6 release page, but hadn’t found it yet.

    And yes… its faster.

    Cheers,
    Martin

  17. Hi Martin, I’m glad I could help. And I’m glad it’s quicker for you as well.

  18. I am curious and looking to see if there is a way for gears to cache WP sites on the *front* end to make them run faster :)

  19. I guess that’s something you’d have to write, because I’m sure a frequent visitor would have most things in their browser cache anyway.

    Unless your visitors have a lot of “interaction” requirements.

  20. enabling “Turbo” crashed the heck out of my wordpress 2.6 installation, I saw server loads climb to 8 and 10 from their previous average of .6 or so. In fact, I can’t seem to get rid of it completely because now they’re hovering around 2, which is bad. It seems to have interfered with my other caching plugins, WP supercache and AA crazy cache. I’m going to try uninstalling/reinstalling them.

  21. That’s strange. I wonder why it would do that considering Gears should work locally and not affect your webserver (from how I understand it).

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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