As I’ve written in recent blog posts, developing offline apps and offline mobile forms are vital for any company. That’s because Internet access often isn’t available for many people, including people on airplanes and subways, in rural areas, field-service personnel working in remote locations, and people in less-developed places around the world. Even in the U.S., an estimated 15% of people use offline mobile apps or offline mobile forms at any given time. But what are some examples of the best offline apps?
Writing offline apps isn’t good enough. You want to write the BEST offline apps possible. And Serhiy Kozlov, Founder and CEO of Romexsoft, offers great advice on how to do that on his blog post, “Why It’s Important for Your Business to Make Your Mobile App Work Offline.”
First, he says, you need to clearly let users know when they’re offline and when they’re online. So he recommends creating a custom screen for when people are offline, telling them “what they can and cannot do and what kind of data will be saved.” He points out that Instagram has recently created a specific offline mode for Android devices, and it allows people to perform a lot of common interactions that they do when they’re online.
He also says that the best offline apps include pages that list the things that users can do when offline. He notes that Google already does this, both in its mobile apps in its app store, and for Chrome users.
Users should also be told when the offline app collects important information, such as payment or medical data, and be clearly informed that data will sync with a database as soon as the offline app comes back online.
The testing cycle for offline mobile apps should be no different from normal mobile apps, and every function of it should be tested regularly, especially offline mode and syncing.
Finally, he says, experiment with offline connectivity, techniques where people can get online with a connection on their devices. The kinks are still being worked out in this, but in general, offline connectivity uses peer-to-peer connections and mesh networking. He explains it this way: “Wireless mesh networks use radio nodes that can connect devices with wireless mesh. A type of chain is developed from one device to the next and, ultimately to a device with internet connectivity.”
Examples of the Best Offline Mobile Apps
Alpha Software has been a pioneer in building the industry’s best offline mobile apps. Alpha Anywhere has had the capability to build offline apps for years. Using it, developers can create offline apps and offline forms with virtually no incremental effort or cost. We’ve even created a mobile inspection app with offline capabilities that you can download for free to see how offline capability would benefit your organization. You can also watch a video about best practices for offline mobile app development.
Thousands of businesses have built offline apps using Alpha Anywhere, including American Pool and Dwellpoint; and recently, Clients First wrote a blog post about why they abandoned a competitor to move to Alpha Anywhere’s offline app capability.
Based on its work developing offline mobile apps and solving offline problems for customers, Alpha Software leads the market in offline capability. Thousands of businesses have built offline apps using Alpha Anywhere, including American Pool and Dwellpoint; and recently, Clients First wrote a blog post about why they abandoned a competitor to move to Alpha Anywhere’s offline app capability. In fact, the Alpha Anywhere rapid app development platform is recognized by Forrester, Gartner and others for its robust offline capability, and the software even won the InfoWorld Technology of the Year Award. We’ve even created a free mobile inspection app with offline capabilities that you can download for free.
“Alpha Anywhere “supports a very robust solution for HTML5 implementations” needing offline. - Forrester Research, “The Offline Mobile Challenge”
So if you’re looking to get started building offline apps, or are looking to improve the ones you’ve already built, give Alpha Anywhere a try.