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Create Offline Apps for Web and Mobile


Mobile business applications aren't truly mobile if they can't work offline, and, until now, organizations were faced with a tripling of time and cost when adding offline access to a business app (Wired Magazine, June 2014).

Alpha Anywhere has transformed business application development so that developers can create offline capable apps and offline forms with virtually no incremental effort or cost.

Alpha Anywhere features extensive, built-in, and customizable capabilities for building offline mobile HTML5 and web business apps in what Forrester Research calls a "robust solution for HTML5 implementations." A robust solution is one that integrates fully with transactional back-end systems of records, that can sync offline data with intelligent conflict resolution versus simplistic "last-write wins".

Watch the 90-second demo video to learn more about how Alpha Anywhere enables offline mobile support:

Capabilities in Alpha Anywhere for building offline applications include:

  • Fine-grained control of write conflicts that occur in offline mode, beyond a simple "last-in" wins approach
  • Data persistence when the app is closed or the battery dies, including data not saved to the server
  • Built-in support for converting SQL data into hierarchical JSON data sets - e.g. customers, their orders, and the order details;
  • Store and display transaction details, including changes, errors, and updates
  • Synchronize stored transactions in offline web apps back to the server
  • Incrementally download updated data to the client from the server
  • Granular control over multi-transaction synchronization to better deal with long synchronization operations
  • Cache offline data with the automatic creation of a manifest file to make use of the browser's appCache mechanism for persisting web apps HTML, CSS, etc.

Until now, offline support, which is critical for our mobile apps, was simply too expensive and complex. Alpha Software is constantly innovating and is focused on saving us time and money.

- Karen Snyder, CIO, American Pool, Read the case study

Offline web applications HTML5


How does Alpha Anywhere save development time and cost in building offline mobile apps?



Watch the technical overview of Alpha's offline web support:

Cache offline data

Built-in, Automatic Use of Local Storage to Persist Data and State



When you build an app for disconnected operation, you need to be sure that any changes the user makes to the data in offline mode are not lost if the device is turned off, loses power, or is shut down before those changes can be synched back to the server.

Alpha Anywhere makes it incredibly easy to persist data to local storage, and restore that data when the application is re-opened so that any changes made by the user can be synchronized when connection is restored.

Watch the video

Create offline capable apps

Resolving Write Conflicts



When an offline sync occurs, there is the possibility that some other user edited and then synchronized the same data before the offline user had a chance to synchronize his/her edits.

If this happens, a 'write conflict' will occur and the user will be notified that the synchronize operation could not be completed. In Alpha Anywhere, we've made it simple to prompt the user with any write conflicts at the time of sync through easy to understand color-coded markers and information about conflicting data. The user can then decide how they want to handle the conflict, choose the correct value and synchronize their edits back to the server.

You can also write code to handle the conflicts programmatically instead of relying on the users to decide.

Watch the video

Sync offline data

Detecting and Resolving Synchronization Errors Based on Server-side Validation Rules



When a user regains connection and synchronizes the edits that were made in their offline applications, there is the possibility of synchronization errors. These errors can typically result because the user entered a value in a field that was rejected by some server-side validation logic, because of a write conflict, or because the database rejected the edit.

Guarantee that your data is clean by giving the user simple visual cues during synchronization to show records with either server-side validation errors or database errors—which can be set down to the individual row or field level.

Watch the video

Offline web apps

Working with Hierarchical Data



We've taken a complex problem—building hierachical data sets in mutli-table offline database applications—and boiled it down to a single checkbox. With Alpha Anywhere, simply select the "Pre-load data" option when setting up your lists and guarantee that all of your Parent-Child data is ready to go 'in-memory' even when your app is offline.

Watch the video

Offline mode for mobile applications

Incremental Refresh of Client Data From the Server



After a List has been populated with data from the server, the user can perform incremental refreshes on the List data to retrieve any edits that have been made to server data. Unlike a full refresh, only rows that have been edited are sent to the client, resulting in a much smaller payload being sent to the client compared to a full refresh of the List data.

You can also set a 'synchronization policy' in the List definition to specify that every time edits to the List data are synchronized with a server an incremental refresh of the List should also be performed.

Watch the video

Sync data in offline mode

Batch Synchronization



In the real world, its typical for users to be working offline for days at a time without regaining connection, making changes to a large amount of data that needs to eventually re-synchronize with the server. In that case, you might want to synchronize the data in batches, rather than sending all of the edits to the server at once which, if using a slow connection, could risk client time-out

Using Alpha Anywhere, its easy to re-synch large amounts of offline data in batches, minimizing risk and keeping your users in the loop through progress updates as the data goes back to the server.

Watch the video

Work offline mobile apps - mark changes

Marking Offline Data with Changes



Keep your users on track by giving them clear visual cues as to what data has been edited while they are in offline mode. In Alpha Anywhere, we've built in icons that mark rows as 'dirty' (i.e. data edited while offline) that stay that way until the user regains connection and is able to synch their changes and clear any possible conflicts. And, you have full access to the CSS to style the icons however you see fit.

Watch the video

Capture location data offline

Geolocation



Offline applications built in Alpha Anywhere include built-in geolocation features such as capturing location information when the user edits data, capturing location information when the user synchronizes data, and geocoding data.

Watch the video - Geocode data on sync
Watch the video - Capture location at sync time
Watch the video - Capture location during edits

More Information, Video Tutorials and Documentation



Please note that this page is just an overview of Alpha Anywhere's built-in offline capabilities. To see the full list of features, along with screenshots, video tutorials and extensive documentation check out the Alpha Anywhere Offline Documentation.

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