I’m happy to share that we’ve recently added HTML5 offline application capabilities to m-Power! Using the HTML5 offline storage feature, we’ve converted all mobile m-Power templates into offline-ready templates.
Why is this so important?
Let me quickly explain: In the “Native app vs. Mobile web app” debate, the mobile web approach has always provided the most bang for your buck. Mobile web apps that work across all platforms (present and future) are typically more attractive to businesses than native apps that only work on a single platform.
However, while the native approach has always been more expensive and time consuming, it offered a benefit that mobile web apps couldn’t match: the ability to function without an internet connection. For many companies, this feature is an absolute necessity. For example:
- A delivery person may sometimes venture into rural areas with spotty coverage. An offline app means they can still lookup customer information and log deliveries regardless of a data connection.
- Salespeople can’t predict where they’ll travel, or whether or not they’ll have access to the web. An offline app lets them lookup customer info and log new orders regardless, and could make the difference between the success or failure of a sales call.
- Field technicians need to access and update their assigned jobs from their mobile devices while out in the field. An offline app ensures that they can complete their jobs, even if they venture out of their coverage area.
In each of these cases, access to a mobile application is crucial, yet companies cannot rely on a 100% available data connection. When deciding between building native mobile apps or mobile web apps, this feature forces many companies into the native approach.
With this new offline enhancement, that’s no longer the case. The need for offline applications will no longer force you towards native apps. Now, m-Power applications will automatically:
- Check the app for offline capabilities. m-Power apps will automatically check to see if the user has configured the app for offline access. If so, m-Power will store the application and specified files on the device for offline usage.
- Revert to the offline version when a connection is lost. Once a user loses a data connection on their device, the m-Power app will automatically revert to the offline version. This change is seamless, and occurs without any input from the user.
- Sync data with the database when a connection is restored. Once a user regains a data connection, the m-Power application will automatically sync changes made in the offline app with the database. The entire process is automated, and occurs without any user input.
In short, this new feature further blurs the line between native and mobile web apps. If you’d like to learn how to configure your m-Power applications for offline use, we’ve written up a short article which you can find right here.