I request that Stack Exchange sites add an HTML cache manifest with a fallback error page for when the site or the user is offline.

* offline.html

This would allow people to write user scripts to cache parts of the site for offline use. Without the manifest it's impossible to run a user script because there's no page loaded.

  • Can you clarify a bit: What offline page do you imagine being loaded for these? This is something determined by our load balancer and only served when we're down, currently. – Nick Craver Aug 12 '11 at 16:24
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    @NickCraver: Any page at all. An error page would even be fine; I just need somewhere to inject JavaScript so that I can start loading cached content. – Jeremy Aug 12 '11 at 17:13
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    Ah, I guess I get it now: the manifest is not needed to allow folks to write user scripts to cache content, right? People could do that without such manifest? It's just that you need some fallback page to allow people to run scripts to use the cached content in case the sites are down or the user is offline? Or, likewise: people could write a user script to automatically redirect to some Google cache, but only if some offline page is available to hook up that script? Nice! – Arjan Aug 19 '11 at 15:56
  • @Arjan: Yup, that's the type of stuff I'm thinking of. – Jeremy Aug 19 '11 at 18:06

We suggest that you fall back to google cache when the sites are offline. Usually our outages are few and far between (I've probably jinxed myself now). We'll happily spend more time making the online experience as awesome as possible - the offline experience even with caching enabled is not so awesome.

  • your uptime rocks i dont think i have ever come to this site and ever come across a maintenance period – Chris McGrath Aug 18 '11 at 5:18
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    If I understand the usage correctly, then even a user script to automatically redirect to some Google cache could in fact benefit from a cache manifest? (See my comment to the question.) – Arjan Aug 19 '11 at 16:01

Your usage scenario aside: could a properly set-up manifest also be used to truly cache the static resources?

Browsers nowadays often send a If-Modified-Since or If-None-Match request for content that they already know about in their cache, whenever one explicitly reloads a page. (Even for a normal, non-Shift-key or non-Ctrl-key reload.) That implies that if the CDN, Quantcast or Google Analytics are not promptly returning 304 Not Modified for static resources, the page load time might increase.

Could HTML5 caching fix that?


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