Designing Offline-First Web Apps [architect]

posted in: architect, Architecture | 0

For us, a connection failure or slow service is a temporary problem that warrants nothing more than an error message. From this perspective, it is tempting to think of connectivity, mobile or otherwise, as something that will solve itself over time, as we get more network coverage and faster service. And that works, as long as our users stay above ground in large, well-developed—but not overly crowded—cities.

But what happens once they descend into the subway, board a plane, travel over land a bit, or go live in the countryside? Or when they stand in the wrong corner of a room or simply find themselves part of a huge crowd? Our carefully constructed app experiences become sources of frustration, because we rely so fully on that ephemeral link back to the servers.

This reliance ignores a fundamental truth: Offline is simply a fact of life. If you’re mobile, you’ll be offline at some point. It’s okay, though. There are ways to deal with it.

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