One of the more complex issues we’ve begun to run into with the flurry of requests for iPad and mobile web apps we’ve seen over the past few months is planning for connectivity loss and offline usage. The complexity isn’t a matter of the technology available to us being complicated. Rather, it’s that we find ourselves adding one more planning and development consideration to our production mix. As with any emerging technology, we’ve found ourselves focusing a lot of effort on simply building a vernacular to enable conversations about mobile with clients who don’t always have technology representation at the table.
I suppose it’s a measure of our success that we’ve gotten beyond conversations about the basic differences, strengths and weaknesses of web apps and native app and have now moved on to talking about such meaty topics as CMS publishing protocols and synching tasks.
The Ajaxian twitter feed had a link to a really nice overview of the offline technologies available to us today. http://www.html5rocks.com/tutorials/offline/whats-offline/#introduction
I imagine we’ll be seeing mobile driving a lot more discussion of new technology over the next year. Things like geolocation, checkins, camera APIs, voice-enabled and microformats, microformats, microformats are going to be defaults in everything we build.
It seems like it has only been a year or so since we started trading page-based architectures for accordions and slideshows and overlays and other richer more application-like functionality. I am amazed at how quickly we’ve sped by these new UI considerations and moved right toward a whole new pile of technology to try to grok and bring into the fold.
I’m really excited about offline and our ability to deal with local storage of binary components in particular. Browser caching has never been quite what it should be and we now have a lot more control over storing images, JS and CSS files on the client. I believe that performance is going to be a key differentiator between Web Standards evangelists like VSA and firms that are content to continue to slop together nonsense.