Offline-First Approach to Mobile App Development

Offline-First Approach to Mobile App Development


August 10, 2020
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Offline-first mobile app development

The substantial advancements in mobile technologies have enabled enterprises to significantly build robust mobile applications with the development methodologies available today. Enterprises have figured the need for effective mobile app development in uplifting their business model and acting as a virtual interface to the customers.

But the big question here is, does your robust mobile application serve its purpose? The online-first approach to mobile application development is extensively involved today. Adaptive mobile functionalities & design rules are the significant reasons for aligning to the online-first approach. The basic cycle of data exchange between the mobile application and the server over an internet connection makes the entire process look easy.

So, when everything seems to work perfectly, why do you still require an offline-first approach to mobile app development?

The Online-First Approach

The answer to the above lies in the online-first approach, where a user initiates a request and waits for the information retrieval model to act following the connection establishment. On connection establishment, the user is acknowledged with the required information while the other possibilities are:

  • The user must wait until the connection is established.
  • The connection establishment fails, and the user must reinitiate the request.

The pivotal reason for connection establishment failures is intermittent connectivity. Uninterrupted internet connectivity paves the way for smoother data transfer with minimal breakdowns. A higher ratio of mobile applications on the market today relies on the internet to function flawlessly. In fact, there’s been an enormous growth in the mobile-only internet users over the last few years. Thus, it is obvious that the internet has become an integral part of our day to day lives, and mobile applications take no exception.

It is explicit that a mobile application works perfectly with a stable connection establishment. But, what if it doesn’t have continuous internet connectivity? Connection failures are a significant hindrance to mobile applications these days; poor network quality and reliability top the gridlocks. To encounter this, you have the Offline First Mobile App Development.

Why Offline-First Mobile App Development?

Mobile applications on a holistic view require internet connectivity to a certain extent for their operations. It doesn’t preclude the scope for an offline mobile app that doesn’t necessarily need a constant connection to operate. In the offline model, data is stored in a local database within your device to fetch the required information instantly. The local database automatically synchronizes with the backend server over a connection establishment to continually update the data. The application architecture facilitates “push” and “pull” of data from the local database rather than the remote server; this saves a lot of processing time.

Notable Benefits of Offline-First Mobile App Development:

Benefits of Offline Mobile Application Development

The Three Significant Offline-First Approaches to Mobile App Development

Caching – The Caching mechanism is one of the simplest and easiest methods to store and manage the local data. Regardless of internet connectivity, the cache allows the user to access the application data locally at any instance of time. For any simple mobile application that demands a smaller database with static data sets and multiple read-only operations, Caching would be the obvious choice. However, if your application accounts for constant data manipulation and event handling, then Caching would turn out to be an uphill task.

Manual Replication – An intelligent upgrade to the Caching model is the Manual Replication that permits the user to take a step further and make edits in the application data. This model allows the user to induce changes while staying offline & once on connection establishment; manual uploads of changes are feasible alongside options to download the new data sets. However, this model can also be unpredictable due to the crashes and data conflicts that could force application malfunctions.

Realtime Data Synchronization – Amongst the three approaches, Realtime Data Synchronization is the best-fit model. With the aid of advanced data synchronization protocols, automatic data uploads are feasible. Furthermore, the system by itself is capable of handling the data conflicts leaving behind the need for any manual intervention. The replication protocol ensures that both client-side and server-side databases merge at a specific version to avoid the data conflicts and data duplications.

Besides the above approaches, there are many more essential factors to consider while adhering to offline-first mobile app development. From sketching the initial requirements to deciding the development platform, every phase plays a pivotal role in procuring the desired output.

Are you looking forward to building an Offline-First mobile App?

The offline-first mobile app development is a new progressive enhancement. By leveraging high-level tools and frameworks, you can efficiently build a robust offline-first mobile application. Choosing the best mobile application development tool holds the key for a robust offline-first mobile app. Some of the best and highly reliable mobile app development tools available today are Appcelerator, Xamarin cross-platform, Sencha Touch, Ionic, PhoneGap, and several more.

Delving into the APIs, powerful features, and toolkits offered by the above development tools, we strongly recommend the Xamarin cross-platform as the appropriate one. Offline-first Xamarin mobile app development allows you to build robust mobile apps with this cross-platform offered by Microsoft. Xamarin.Forms – the open-source mobile UI framework certainly provides you an upper hand over other development tools. Xamarin’s offline sync feature allows users to seamlessly interact with the mobile application even in the offline mode. With options to facilitate data caching and data binding, Xamarin.Forms promise reliable data synchronization offline. So, leverage the Offline-first approach to Xamarin mobile app development model and build performant mobile applications.

Get in Touch with the Experts!

Are you looking to build an offline-first mobile application? Then, seek the right technical assistance from the best in the industry. PreludeSys is an old hand when it comes to developing innovative and robust mobile applications (offline and online). Our adept talent pool and impeccable experience in the industry is proof that we can offer you solutions par excellence. Talk to our Experts!

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