In the YUI 3 Gallery: Ryan Grove’s Storage Lite Cross-Browser Storage Library

By YUI TeamFebruary 23rd, 2010

Ryan Grove, Frontend Engineer on Yahoo! SearchRyan Grove (@yaypie on Twitter) is a web developer and pie connoisseur (the former for Yahoo! Search and the latter for fun). He has worked on features like Search Assist, Search Pad, and the recent Search redesign, and is currently helping migrate Yahoo! Search from YUI 2 to YUI 3.

With more and more browsers adding support for the
HTML5 Web Storage API,
the future is looking good for web applications that need persistent
client-side data storage. Unfortunately, maintaining compatibility with
older browsers that don’t yet support Web Storage can be a challenge, and
dropping support for older browsers is rarely an acceptable option.

The Storage Lite
YUI 3 Gallery module
, which was developed for use on
Yahoo! Search, aims to solve this
problem by providing a simple, lightweight API wrapper for a variety of
persistent client-side storage mechanisms with no external plugin
dependencies of any kind (not even Flash). It weighs in at about 2.6KB after
minification and before gzip, is similar to the HTML5 localStorage API, and
works in IE6+, Firefox 2+, Safari 3.1+, Chrome 4+, and Opera 10.5+.

Apart from being based on YUI 3, Storage Lite differs from the existing
YUI 2 Storage Utility
in several ways. YUI 2 Storage is a robust and extensible implementation
that stays more faithful to the HTML5 localStorage and sessionStorage APIs
(for example, it provides a change event and a key() method,
which Storage Lite does not). YUI 2 Storage also falls back on Flash or
Gears storage for older browsers, which can in some cases provide better
persistence and more storage capacity. Storage Lite trades extensibility and
plugin-based fallbacks for lighter weight and better performance, and
specifically focuses on emulating only localStorage.

Click through to see the example in action.

Take a look at this
persistent notepad example
to see Storage Lite in action, or read through
the following non-interactive code sample for a quick tour of the API.

First, include the script:

<script src="

In your implementation code, listen for the storage-lite:ready
event, which is fired when the storage mechanism is ready for use. After the
storage mechanism is ready, you can use the API:

YUI().use('gallery-storage-lite', function (Y) {

    // For full compatibility with IE 6-7 and Safari 3.x, listen for the
    // storage-lite:ready event before making storage calls. If you're not
    // targeting those browsers, you can safely ignore this step.
    Y.StorageLite.on('storage-lite:ready', function () {

        // To store an item, pass a key and a value (both strings) to setItem().
        Y.StorageLite.setItem('kittens', 'fluffy and cute');

        // If you set the optional third parameter to true, you can use any
        // serializable object as the value and it will automatically be stored
        // as a JSON string.
        Y.StorageLite.setItem('pies', ['apple', 'pumpkin', 'pecan'], true);

        // To retrieve an item, pass the key to getItem().
        Y.StorageLite.getItem('kittens');    // => 'fluffy and cute'

        // To retrieve and automatically parse a JSON value, set the optional
        // second parameter to true.
        Y.StorageLite.getItem('pies', true); // => ['apple', 'pumpkin', 'pecan']

        // The length() method returns a count of how many items are currently
        // stored.
        Y.StorageLite.length(); // => 2

        // To remove a single item, pass its key to removeItem().

        // To remove all items in storage, call clear().



Data stored using Storage Lite is persisted across pageviews and browser
restarts*, and is accessible only from the same domain in which
it was stored. Behind the scenes, Storage Lite uses the following storage
mechanisms, automatically choosing the best one that’s supported:

  • Firefox 3.5+, Chrome 4+, Safari 4+, IE8, Opera 10.5+: HTML5 localStorage — these modern browsers all support the core localStorage functionality defined in the HTML5 draft.
  • Firefox 2.x and 3.0.x: Gecko globalStorage, an early API similar to HTML5’s localStorage.
  • Safari 3.1 and 3.2: HTML5 Database Storage, because Safari 3.1 and 3.2 don’t support HTML5 localStorage.
  • IE6, IE7: userData persistence, a rarely used IE feature for associating string data with an element on a web page and persisting it between pageviews.

For more details, see the
Storage Lite GitHub project
and the API

* Caveat: IE6 and IE7 persist data across pageviews, but not across
browser restarts.


  1. This is great!!! One more check off my YUI3 needs! or rather, one more YUI2 tool I am not loading alongside YUI3 ;)

    Thanks for this great contribution!

  2. [...] Hinch’s Form module (submitted hours after the Gallery opened), Ryan Grove’s excellent Storage and History modules, Ilyan Peychev’s über-popular Accordion, Julien Lecomte’s [...]

  3. I actually just wrote a new js file to enable cross browser localStorage… and sessionStorage! It’s basically the same deal with userStorage in IE, but using the window name to identify the browser window. Check it out and let me know what you guys think!

  4. [...] werden kann. Um auch älteren Browsern das beizubringen, gibt es Bibliotheken wie YUI Storage oder YUI Storage Lite. Die Daten werden per Domain abgelegt, und es werden 5MB Speicherplatz [...]

  5. [...] Browser support is actually pretty good: Chrome 4+; Firefox 3.5+; IE8+; Opera 10.5+; Safari 4+; plus iPhone 2.0+; and Android 2.0+. That should cover most of your needs. Of course, you should check for support first (or use a wrapper library like YUI Storage Utility or YUI Storage Lite). [...]

  6. [...] Browser support is actually pretty good: Chrome 4+; Firefox 3.5+; IE8+; Opera 10.5+; Safari 4+; plus iPhone 2.0+; and Android 2.0+. That should cover most of your needs. Of course, you should check for support first (or use a wrapper library like YUI Storage Utility or YUI Storage Lite). [...]