How many times have you been not able to obtain information or receive help from an app because of network issues or no network? We have become so dependent on our smart devices that when they don’t work, we feel helpless; like time has come to a halt and we are back in the 90s. In order for the user to retain your app, it should also work offline. Apps with GPS navigation, medical facilities/information and banking apps should be programmed in a way that they can also work offline. Some of the advantages of offline working apps include:
Deciding on Offline Features
Let’s begin by listing down the steps that will help the company/organization to decide on offline features for the app:
In order to fill the matrix:
For instance, if your app offers taxi service, there will be multiple features in it, such as map, costing, location of the driver, location of the customer, customer contact number, etc. Hence, the next step will be to decide which of these features need to be available offline and how difficult would it be to incorporate them offline.
Key Technologies that Allow the App to Work in Offline Mode
Mobile apps can be built with two core capabilities:
When the app works offline, the data will need to be stored on the client’s device, so that it can be used when its offline. Offline data storage can be done using different methods (and different for different platforms). Let’s go through them.
Local Caching and Cookies
Tools for storing data in the web browser:
For platforms such as Android and iOS, there is a certain mechanism that allows storing of user’s preferences (pieces of information saved persistently and used to configure the app) which allows the app to work in offline mode.
Each of the SharedPreferences files is managed by the Android platform and is internally stored as an .xml file in a private directory. An app can have multiple SharedPreferences files and, ideally, they are used to store app preferences.
For instance, users can save a profile image offline or add a feature that saves documents automatically. These preferences are recorded by the app in what is known as the iOS “defaults system.” In this way, information is cached, which helps avoid the opening of the user’s defaults database each time you need a default value.
The iOS defaults system is available within all of the code in your mobile app, any saved to the defaults system data will persist through app sessions. What this means for the user is that after the app closes or reboots, the saved data will still be retained.
Reference Source: https://dzone.com/articles/how-to-make-mobile-app-work-offline
Local (Internal/External) Storage
An Internal/External Data Storage method is used specifically for those situations that need to store data to the device filesystem which doesn’t require relational database capabilities. Furthermore,
Majority of mobile platforms, such as Android, iOS, and Windows Phone, provide support for apps to use SQLite databases for data storage, although database managing is specific for each platform. SQLite is an open source database system which works great on mobile devices as its storage offers an app the speed and power of a full featured relational database. SQLite uses a single file to store all the data to make management of data simple. It is an easy and simple to use alternative for queuing or caching information.
Reference Source: To read more, https://dzone.com/articles/how-to-make-mobile-app-work-offline
Performing some action in offline mode and then synchronizing it with a central repository is one of the core features of an offline app. Generally, an app has both client-side storage and server-side storage, and the app manages the flow of data between the server and the client. The offline mode feature allows the user to edit information on the server-side and, at the same time, on the mobile side.
With this approach, the synchronization logic should ensure that after successful synchronization, data will be up-to-date on the mobile and server side at the same time. This can be achieved by adding certain “audit” fields to each object that should be synchronized between mobile and server, and vice versa. These fields can be like these: ‘last_updated_on’, ‘created_on’, and if the data isn’t physically removed: ‘deleted_on’.
Reconnecting too often might drain the battery, hence, slots need to be defined that are good for downloading data. It is necessary to determine different synchronization cycles for different data according to the needs of the business. It is better when small data packages require high-frequency updates.
In today's time, the user expects offline services from apps and hence, it can no longer be ignored. The mobile app's user experience will improve leaps and bounds, if majority of offline scenarios are implemented. If you wish to incorporate an offline mode for your app, but need help or clarification, you can get in touch with the App Scoop mobile app development team and developers : https://www.app-scoop.com/contact-us.html