Working your app without internet
The idea of working offline came to existence because of intermittent signal connectivity problems in your mobile devices. Therefore, how to manage data offline? How does it affect both developing native apps as well as mobile web applications.
There is always the need felt to work offline if in remote areas or situations which might lead you to enter or manage data without a connectivity.
Now, between choosing to develop a native app or a mobile web-based app is the key to decide your option perfectly before go to decide to work it offline! The options is depending upon your choice since HTML 5 stores locally that is extended to mobile browsers to support offline.
Is it possible to make a web app offline?
While mobile apps are easy to make it offline, because of its varied hardware capability unlike a native app which is hardware specific platform, it still remains to be seen as to what type of storage will be needed?
With the new HTML 5 standards in place, mobile web apps come with:
- browser cache
- local storage and database
What does Browser cache do?
The application caching creates a manifest that will list pages needed to be cached and make it offline. So, the manifest tells the browser that it can use pages that are already downloaded so that there’s no error messages displayed like “No internet connection” etc.
How do Local storage work?
This works like a browser cookie giving a key/value system to retain web app data even when browser is not open. At the same time, cookies take a lot of bandwidth when working online, but here local storage uses an application to make use of at least 5MB data for a server. This does not resend data to server but maintains as an offline storage.
What does Local Database offer?
Unlike the 5MB local storage, using a local database will index data and bring in more properties or multiple properties to be queried. This is a standard that HTML 5 uses which is adopted by Internet Explorer and Firefox. Though Safari and Chrome used WebSQL.
An effective Native app and its possibilities
In case of higher data needed either for storage or database capabilities, web app may not be a solution. It may not suit an upload facility if you need to take a picture from your mobile and send it online.
While mobile web apps are built by CSS queries, native apps are built with toolkit or a titanium platform or HTML native libraries.
Companies that embrace offline working environment
Google provides offline support for its iOS and Android apps. This works for google maps when you are anywhere outside looking for routes in your map. It is trying to make its ChromeBook also offline.
Facebook has gone offline with its iOS app. Apple introduced a new technology named Multipeer connectivity Framework, that will connect places where internet is not connecting. With the help of mesh networking, peer-to peer connectivity this has been possible.
Two types of networks – one is isolated where a set of devices can communicate with each other without internet and the other – a chain of devices that will connect to internet back and forth.
The second type is a wireless mesh network where people can set up isolated network or create a chain to an internet connection.
In the isolated network, there is no internet access but on their own network i.e. Mesh network. And it becomes a chain if anyone has an internet connectivity.