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The Offline-First Approach to Mobile App Development

Beyond Caching to a Full Data Sync Platform

We need our apps to always be available, even if networks aren't.

Our customers expect a seamless, responsive experience no matter where they are. Our employees expect up-to-the-minute information on the go. But traditional mobile apps can get bogged down or stop working altogether if networks are congested, slow, or interrupted. In an offline-first approach, data is handled on the device and synced to the server when networks become available.

Offline Support Is a Crucial Challenge for Nearly Every Modern Application

The Challenges of Offline-First

Offline first is not easy, and the usual approaches each have severe limitations. Caching is fast and efficient, but only allows data to flow one way: from the server to the device. Manual replication gives users read/write capability, but at the cost of introducing possible conflicts, multiple failure points, and a need for a robust network pipeline. And building solutions with either approach from the ground up requires engineering resources, expertise, and budgets that are better spent elsewhere.

Key Takeaways
  • Understand the challenges of mobile computing and unreliable networks.
  • Discover the advantages of implementing an offline-first approach to app development.
  • Compare common approaches and pitfalls of making apps offline-first.
  • See how a real-time data sync platform can improve your user experience.
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