Factoring Offline Syncing into your App Design

While most of us are connected to the Internet most of the time, there are still times when we are not online. Just because we are offline doesn’t mean we won’t want to use our apps. Herein lies the problem if you’re developing apps that depend on the Internet to function correctly. We want to check our fitness app part way through a run in the woods, we’d like to play our game apps while sitting on a bus. If your app doesn’t work for everyone, all the time, then your customers will soon find an alternative app that is available offline.

App development

So what do you do about it?

Database synchronization is the key. Luckily, this isn’t something you’re going to have to develop yourself. It’s far easier to use a third-party provider such as Google Firebase or Amazon Cognito for your synchronization needs.

Which provider should I go with?

Looking forward

Choosing which provider to opt for will depend on your own specific requirements. It’s important to think about the future. While your app may currently be aimed solely at mobile devices, will you eventually want to branch out to enable users to install your app on their desktop or laptop machines? Make the right choices now, so you won’t have to make big changes in the future. You should also find an option that allows for some flexibility. While you can predict the future to some extent, it’s hard to visualize what your mobile app development requirements will be in several years time. A provider that allows you to be flexible will help you to grow and expand without limiting you.

Security is paramount

You’ll need your data to be encrypted, you’ll also need data to be sent securely, either via SSL or TLS. Your users will presume any data they send via your app, or store within the app is secure, so you need to make sure it is or you’ll have big problems later. A security breach is the quickest way to lose a good reputation.


Synchronization conflicts need to be addressed

When you’re synchronizing data, there is always the risk of conflicts. For instance, a user has the app open on both their phone and their tablet. How do you deal with this? This data conflict needs to be resolved in the least noticeable way for the user. Check out the providers and do your research. Whose approach will best suit your own needs for conflict resolution?

It’s all about timing

Your users won’t thank you if your app is syncing when they’ve got their mobile data on, racking up a big bill and draining their battery. It’s important to find a provider that makes sensible presumptions and gives options for the timing of synchronization. For instance, you may well want your app to synchronize only when the user is on a wifi connection and not to sync when their mobile device is low on battery.