JavaScript Storage Libraries Explored

It isn't uncommon to need a way to persist some data in browser. Traditionally cookies were used for this purpose. Since then better alternatives, such as Web Storage have emerged. As if that wasn't enough, there is also a Indexed Database and Web SQL.

In his comparison Christian Simms points out that Indexed Database and Web SQL in particular are robust alternatives. Since the post the development of Web SQL has halted, however. Of the three Web Storage is the best supported at the moment althoug it is also the simplest alternative being a key-value store.

From a web developer's point of view this is quite a dilemma. How do you make any sense of that mess? What if you are not happy with Web Storage and want better queries for instance? As it happens there are multiple solutions for this problem.

Lawnchair

Lawnchair is an example of a storage library inspired by CouchDB. It uses an adapter based design. This means it is possible to use the same API while the actual database backend is selected based on platform.

Artemia builds on Lawnchair and provides some functionality of its own. This includes various queries. Unfortunately it seems the development of Artemia has stalled while Lawnchair keeps on being active.

PouchDB

PouchDB is bit of an interesting case. Just like Lawnchair it builds on CouchDB. What makes it special is the fact that it can sync with an actual database. This applies for offline usage as well. It is possible to sync between PouchDB databases too.

PouchDB is currently in alpha preview so consider it experimental. On conceptual level it seems very interesting, though.

ydn-db

Just like lawnchair ydn-db implements adapter design. What makes it special is its support for schemas. If you are looking for something full featured ydn-db seems like a good pick even though it doesn't seem particularly popular at the moment.

story.js

story.js implements adapter design. What makes it special is the query language that resembles LINQ.

localStorage Wrappers

There are quite a few wrappers for localStorage, part of Web Storage API. I've listed these briefly below:

  • store.js fixes one particular restriction of Web Storage as it allows you to store data without having it being cast to string always.
  • TaffyDB provides more comprehensive queries. The API works on a bit higher level overall than store.js.
  • BankersBox focuses on providing Redis-like API. Each "database" is accessed by id. After that the syntax familiar from Redis may be used. There is also adapter design familiar from Lawnchair.
  • IoStorage.js has a similar interface as cookie.js below.
  • Kizzy provides the usual get/set syntax. In addition there is support for older Internet Explorers thanks to its usage of persistent XML store.
  • lsd.js provides yet another alternative API for localStorage.
  • Rockstage.js is another pretty generic wrapper.

Cookie Wrappers

As you might expect there are wrappers for cookies too. Of these I would like to mention Cookies.js and cookie.js in particular. Feature-wise cookie.js seems a bit more comprehensive than Cookies.js and provides chaining for instance. EDIT: Cookies.js provides chaining too.

Conclusion

There are definitely quite a few storage libraries available. You can find a few more at our full listing. Many seem to focus on wrapping localStorage. Fortunately there are a few conceptually different around. I hope this post gave you some insight to the field as it is. Let us know if we missed some awesome library or made some terrible mistake at the comments.

Published by bebraw on 2013-01-28 14:33:45

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