A new report from Forrester, "The Offline Mobile Challenge," makes it clear: If you're building a mobile app it must work properly even without a network or data connection. Offline support is absolutely vital for today's businesses because we don't live in an always-connected world. People need to work with company data and resources even when they're offline. Critical business apps cannot power today's organizations if they don't work offline.
The report warns that "offline is not just another mobile feature...offline support will be a crucial consideration for nearly every future modern application." The report goes on to explain:
"Offline services provide immense value to application users; being able to use the app absent network connectivity simply scratches the surface. Offline support also ensures outstanding app performance, regardless of network connectivity or speed."
Despite that, many mobile apps don't support offline access. And many of those that do support it don't do it properly. The report notes, "Our experience shows that offline support is the mobile app feature continually underscoped by developers and over-simplified by stakeholders." And it adds that offline mobile access is "often the most expensive (and valuable) infrastructure service mobile development teams will implement."
Building Robust Offline Support Inexpensively
Forrester is certainly right about developers underscoping the feature. And experience has shown that it is no doubt frequently the most valuable service that developers can provide. Not uncommonly, it is also the most expensive as well.
But it needn't be costly. And it needn't be difficult, either. The Forrester report concludes that the new version of Alpha Anywhere "supports a very robust solution for HTML5 implementations" needing offline support.
Alpha Anywhere integrates fully with transactional back-end systems, and includes intelligent conflict resolution versus simplistic "last-write wins." It offers data persistence when the business app is closed or the battery dies, including data not saved to the server. It features built-in support for converting SQL data into hierarchical JSON data sets, for example, customers, their orders, and the order details.
And it does all this without requiring specialized, additional coding. Offline capabilities are built directly into the core of Alpha Anywhere. That means that offline-capable apps can be built with no additional development time --- and no additional cost.
Go here for more details about Alpha Anywhere's new offline capabilities.
Dion McCormick, Lead Solutions Engineer at Alpha Software, is a recognized expert on agile application development. He helps enterprise development teams around the world transition from slow legacy approaches to high-performance mobile, web, and desktop development using the Alpha Anywhere platform.
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