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The Couchbase database goes mobile

Couchbase has released a version of its NoSQL database that runs on mobile devices, allowing for offline access of data

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Couchbase is extending NoSQL to mobile devices with a new product suite that allows an app developer to install its database directly on the device itself, allowing apps to function even when they're not connected to the Internet.

The suite also includes tools to seamlessly synchronize data between a Web server and the mobile client, to keep users up-to-date during those times when they are connected.

Some users become frustrated at their apps' inability to function offline, which happens because much of the data they need to operate resides on a server.

Placing a small, light database on the device would allow the app to hold sufficient data that it could be used, at least until a connection is restored.

Of course, a number of lightweight databases have long been available for use on mobile devices, most notably SQLite and Oracle's Berkeley DB.

Couchbase's database, however, comes with a number of advantages for the modern app builder. It provides an easy way to synchronize data with back-end databases. It natively works with the JSON (JavaScript Object Notation), which is increasingly the data format of choice for application builders, given that it's a subset of the JavaScript specification and that it's easy to work with data encoded in JSON. It also doesn't require a schema, which can save time in development.

Couchbase Mobile includes three components: Couchbase Lite, Couchbase Sync Gateway and Couchbase Server.

Couchbase Lite is a new NoSQL database for mobile devices. It has a small footprint but offers all the features of Couchbase Server in terms of serving and saving documents and data. It also features multi-master replication and conflict resolution, both necessary for synchronizing data between the mobile device and back-end server.

Initially, Couchbase Lite will run on Apple iOS and OS X as well as on Android. It will work on mobile devices that run Java as well.

The Couchbase Sync Gateway is a server product that replicates data between Couchbase Lite and the Couchbase Server in the data center. The software also handles user authentication, access control, data filtering and data change validation.

Couchbase Server, built on the company's Couchbase key-value data store (formerly called Membase), provides the back-end component for the mobile application. Couchbase Server offers a JSON document store as well as an easy way to scale a database across multiple servers, for greater performance.

To further help developers, Couchbase has been working with providers of app development tools to add out-of-the-box support for Couchbase Lite.

In conjunction with tool provider Xamarin, Couchbase has released a beta of Couchbase Lite for .Net, software that allows Microsoft .Net developers using Xamarin to package Couchbase Lite in their apps

Couchbase has also provided a plug-in for PhoneGap, a development platform for building cross-platform apps. The plug-in will allow developers to wrap Couchbase Lite in a single PhoneGap container, which then can be used by both iOS and Android apps.

One of a number of popular NoSQL databases on the market, Couchbase Server has been used by companies such as Adobe, Bally's, Comcast, Disney, Orbitz, Verizon and Walmart.

Joab Jackson covers enterprise software and general technology breaking news for The IDG News Service. Follow Joab on Twitter at @Joab_Jackson. Joab's e-mail address is Joab_Jackson@idg.com



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