In today’s fast-paced world, we expect our apps to work seamlessly, even when we’re not connected to the internet. That’s where offline-first architecture comes in – it’s all about building apps that can deliver the same level of functionality, even when there’s no internet connection available.

But how do we achieve that? Well, it all comes down to choosing the right data storage approach. Whether you’re building a small-scale app prototype or a complex data-intensive application, there are various data storage options available to help you deliver a seamless user experience.

In this blog post, we’ll explore the world of offline-first architecture and dive into the libraries for building offline first React Native app. So let’s get started, and take your React Native app to the next level – even when your users are offline!

What is offline-first?

Offline-first is a software development approach that prioritizes designing applications to work offline as well as online. Rather than treating offline capabilities as an afterthought, offline-first applications are designed to function seamlessly whether a user is connected to the internet or not.

Offline-first applications store data locally on a user’s device, allowing the application to continue working even when there is no internet connection available. When the user reconnects to the internet, the application will automatically synchronize any changes made while offline with a remote server.

The offline-first approach recognizes that internet connectivity is not always reliable or available, especially in certain regions or for certain users. By designing applications to be offline-first, developers can ensure that their applications are accessible and usable for everyone, regardless of their internet connection status.

Advantages of offline first approach

This software development approach is a game-changer in its ability to provide users with a seamless experience, no matter where they are or whether they have internet access. Here are some of the friendly advantages of an offline-first approach that will make you want to give it a big hug:

Convenience

With offline-first applications, users can access and use their favorite apps anytime, anywhere, without worrying about internet connectivity. This makes it easier for them to stay productive and connected, whether they’re on a plane, in a remote area, or simply in a place with poor internet connectivity.

Peace of mind

Offline-first applications give users the peace of mind of knowing that their data is safe and secure, even if they lose their internet connection. They can continue to work, play, and create without worrying about losing their progress or having to start over.

Flexibility

An offline-first approach gives users more flexibility and control over how they use their applications. They can choose to use an app offline when it suits them, and then synchronize their data with the cloud when they have an internet connection. This gives them more control over their data and how they use their applications.

User experience

Offline-first applications are designed to provide a smooth and seamless user experience, with fast load times and quick response times. Users don’t have to worry about slow loading pages or waiting for data to be synchronized with the cloud, which can lead to a frustrating experience.

Offline App Architecture 

If you’re wondering how to create an offline app architecture, we’ve got you covered! This involves designing an application that can work even without an internet connection. Here are some simple and fun steps to get started:

Identify offline data

The first step is to decide which data your users will need access to when they are offline. Think about what information is critical and needs to be stored locally on the device for easy access.

Choose a storage solution

Next, pick a local storage solution that suits your needs. You could use a local database, key-value store, or flat files. This is where the offline data will be stored.

Plan for synchronization

Develop a strategy for keeping the offline data in sync with the server when internet connectivity is restored. This could involve scheduling periodic syncs or real-time syncs when the user goes back online.

Implement offline functionality

Build the offline functionality of the application, such as caching data, handling requests and responses, and updating the user interface to reflect the offline state.

Test and optimize the offline experience

Finally, test the application to ensure it works smoothly in offline mode. Optimize performance by minimizing data usage, prioritizing important data, and using efficient storage and synchronization techniques.

Powerful Libraries to Build Offline First Apps in React Native

Shall we get into some awesome libraries that is used to create amazing offline-first apps in React Native? Yes!

SQLite

First up, we have SQLite. It’s perfect for hobby apps or side projects, and it’s super easy to use for building React Native app prototypes. The concept is simple just store data locally with SQLite, then sync the database to the cloud with a service like Dropbox. You can use the react-native-sqlite-storage npm package to get started.

Realm

Next, we have Realm. If you decide to use Realm, the MongoDB Realm React Native SDK makes it pretty easy to create a React Native app. You can create and authenticate users across devices using built-in user management, with authentication methods like email and password, JWT, Facebook, Google, and Apple. The SDK also allows you to sync your data to a MongoDB that’s hosted in the cloud.

WatermelonDB

WatermelonDB is a great choice for complex apps. It’s a robust SQL database that stores and accesses all data locally in a SQLite database, using a different native thread. WatermelonDB is also lazy, so it only loads data when it’s needed, making requests lightning-fast. Although it’s a local database, you can use its sync primitives and sync adapters to sync your local data with your remote database.

Redux

The react-native-offline package is like a Swiss Army knife filled with tools specifically designed for React Native apps. Imagine having an app that can perform all its functions offline and sync changes as soon as it detects an internet connection! That’s what react-native-offline can do for you.

To get started with react-native-offline, you need to add the network reducer that the package provides to your root reducer.

import { createStore, combineReducers } from ‘redux’;

import { reducer as network } from ‘react-native-offline’;

const rootReducer = combineReducers({

  // … your other reducers here …

  network,

});

const store = createStore(rootReducer);

export default store;

Alright, now you have a couple of options at your fingertips. Firstly, you can make use of the ReduxNetworkProvider as a descendant of your Redux provider to grant it access to the store. Here’s how you can go about it:

import store from ‘./reduxStore’;

import React from ‘react’;

import { Provider } from ‘react-redux’;

import { ReduxNetworkProvider } from ‘react-native-offline’;

const Root = () => (

  <Provider store={store}>

    <ReduxNetworkProvider>

      <App />

    </ReduxNetworkProvider>

  </Provider>

);

Alternatively, you can choose to fork the networkSaga from your root saga if your app utilizes Redux sagas. This nifty approach eliminates the need to wrap your components with additional functionality, saving you time and effort.

import { all } from ‘redux-saga/effects’;

import saga1 from ‘./saga1’;

import { networkSaga } from ‘react-native-offline’;

export default function* rootSaga(): Generator<*, *, *> {

  yield all([

    fork(saga1),

    fork(networkSaga, { pingInterval: 30000 }),

  ]);

}

With the nifty Redux middleware from react-native-offline, you can check if your app is online before firing off an API call. When your app is online, it functions seamlessly just like you expect it to.

Imagine your phone has a mind of its own and decides to go offline just when you need it the most. Don’t worry, with Redux middleware from react-native-offline, you can store the dispatched action in a queue to be re-dispatched once the app is back online.

But what if your app is launched when there is no connection available? Fear not, for Redux-persist comes to the rescue! This tool allows your app to store a snapshot of its state in the device’s memory, ready to be rehydrated when the app is launched again. This means your app can function offline from the very moment it is opened.

Redux offline

If you prefer using Redux, then Redux Offline is the way to go. It uses Redux to manage online versus offline functionality, with the npm redux-offline package. The redux-offline store enhancer is added to the root reducer, making it easy to sync changes when an internet connection is detected.

Alternatively, you can use the react-native-offline package, which is a set of tools designed specifically for React Native apps. The goal is to create an app that can perform all of its internet functions offline and sync changes when a connection is detected. However, unlike redux-offline, react-native-offline uses the shaky NetInfo API to check the connection.

Wrap up

And there you have it! With an offline-first approach, you can make your React Native app a star performer even when your users are offline. By selecting the right data storage approach, you can build an app that’s robust, reliable, and able to sync data across devices and the cloud.

SQL Lite is an easy-to-use choice for building app prototypes or side projects, and it’s perfect for getting started quickly. But if you’re looking for something more substantial to support your data-intensive apps, WatermelonDB is the way to go.

With WatermelonDB, you can store and access data locally in a SQLite database, and then sync that data with your remote database using its powerful sync primitives and adapters. It’s the perfect choice for building a React Native app that’s blazing fast, yet still fully functional even when your users are offline.

So what are you waiting for? Start building your own offline-first React Native app today, and give your users an experience they won’t forget – even when they’re offline!

Key Evolving Trends to Monitor Application Development In 2019 Key Evolving Trends to Monitor Application Development In 2019

Over the last few years, research has shown that about 2.1 billion people around the world own smartphones; applications on these smartphones assist users in carrying out everyday activities, from making calls and keeping in touch with friends and families to work-related activities. The average adult uses their phone about 250 times a day, using apps a majority of the time.

Technological advancements occur at a lightning-fast pace, and for 2019, there are high chances that 5G is one of those technological advancements that will finally become operational! Changes will thus occur in application development to adapt apps to the latest technological breakthrough. Here are some major application development trends that would disrupt the existing models in the industry in 2019-

Accelerated Mobile Pages

About a year ago, Google initiated the Accelerated Mobile Pages (AMP) project. An extension of this project to the mobile web will be initiated in 2019, according to Google. The application of AMP to the mobile web will mean a reduction in the bounce rate. This application trend of 2019 will also mean good news for advertisers as adverts will get better visibility, and web pages will be guaranteed of more visitors. When Google AMP is extended to the mobile web in 2019; it will influence mobile app development and ensure faster web apps.

Artificial intelligence and machine learning

Apps are built to be incorporated into a user’s lifestyle as seamlessly as possible. Artificial intelligence and machine learning are technological advancements that have made it easier to incorporate these apps into users’ lifestyles. With the success of Siri and other assistant apps, mobile application development trends of 2019 will include better incorporation of artificial intelligence and machine learning. Research has also shown that there will be much more investment in AI and machine learning in 2019 than in the previous years, up to a 300% increase. The incorporation of AI and machine learning into applications will mean better insights and user experience across the different apps, from apps for personal purposes to apps for work-related purposes.

Cloud storage

Apps with cloud storage have been welcomed by a majority of users. These apps mean access to stored materials on the go and more free space on one’s device. Because cloud storage means good news for users, app developers have focused on creating more apps with cloud storage. The application development trend of 2019 will thus include the development of a lot more apps with cloud storage. It has even been speculated that up to 90% of the apps that will be developed in 2019 will support cloud storage. App developers tend to focus on features that improve user experience, and since cloud storage is one of such features, 2019 will see more apps with cloud storage.

IoT and wearable devices

Although the IoT industry is still at its infant stage, it has received a lot of attention from users even with the price constraints. Over time, the price constraints have been modified consistently enough to make wearable and IoT devices an expected application development trend of 2019. In 2019, app developers will pay more attention to the creation of apps for IoT and wearable devices. It has been confirmed that major players in different industries, apart from the ones that currently offer smartwatches, such as Uber will be focusing more on wearable and IoT devices in 2019.

There is a lot of potential for wearable and IoT devices, and app developers will be focusing a lot on these devices in 2019.

Payment gateways and mobile wallet

Users make financial transactions on a majority of the available applications and users are clamoring for more seamless ways of making payments on these apps. Seamless methods of payments which include mobile wallets and payment gateways ensure the best user experience, and these trends will be very evident in app development in 2019. 2019 will thus see the incorporation of payment gateways and mobile wallets into a lot of apps. Security measures to ensure the safety of financial transactions on these apps will also be implemented. Users prefer to make payments with secure methods such as PayPal and Amazon Pay, and in 2019, these mobile wallets will be incorporated into many more apps.

To conclude,  the year 2019 will propel app developers to take a leap in creating better, faster and more immersive user experiences, and the trends mentioned above are some of the expected game-changers.

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