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Low-code | LCAP | Vinyl

Building Low-Code Applications for Offline Access

Wifi Signal

By Tim Bond, Product Manager

Improve reliability, convenience, and access to essential services with offline applications.

Today, we take our internet connection for granted. We normally have a strong connection available to us – whether in the office, at home, at a coffee shop, on the road, or even on a flight – enabling us to work almost anywhere. It’s when we lose our internet connection that the world seems to stop.

Even for businesses, there are situations when the absence of or inconsistent internet can become a critical issue. Whether it’s staff working in remote locations or teams in a traveling role, lack of internet can have a detrimental effect on your business processes and your ability to serve your customers in real time.

For low-code application development solutions – which are utilized for building business-critical applications – enabling offline application access is an essential capability. Vinyl, Jitterbit’s low-code application development solution, is used by business analysts and IT professionals to address business problems. The absence of an internet connection can pose significant challenges in certain scenarios. With our new offline applications feature, Vinyl will help businesses overcome these obstacles by providing reliable access to their information even without an internet connection.

What experience will Vinyl users have when they go offline?

When your users go offline, they will generally lose access to any data connections behind the application, rendering it useless. However, a Vinyl offline application will guide users through a three-step process to keep them productive.

  1. Download data to the user’s mobile device while online.

    While your user has an internet connection, they will open the application and initiate a process to download data relevant to their tasks onto their device. For example, if your offline business process is to place orders and update inventories for your customers, this means the user would download the product list, price list, customer list, and current inventories for each of the customer locations they plan to visit that day.

  2. Allow the user to create and modify data while offline.

    Using the data cached on the device, the user can create and modify data. Continuing with the distributor business process example, this would be the user creating orders using the product, price, and customer data downloaded to their device.

  3. Synchronize data back to the core Vinyl system when back online.

    When a stable internet connection is reestablished, the user would then initiate a process to synchronize the data back to the core system. To round out the distributor business example, any new orders that were created on the user’s device would get processed for fulfillment.

What new features can I use while building an offline application in Vinyl?

As a Vinyl developer, you will be able to leverage Vinyl’s existing features to build your offline application the same as you would build a standard application. Vinyl gives the developer complete control over how the data download and synchronization works. A developer can build custom events, validations, and pages to give users the best experience possible. For example, there will likely be a need to verify the synchronized data meets the requirements of the target system. You may build a page for your users to see each of their orders and their statuses, such as whether they were successfully posted or ran into an issue and need troubleshooting.

To give you more flexibility and make your offline application more feature-rich, we added the following capabilities:

  1. System (networkstatus) function

    You can now pass the networkstatus parameter into the system() function to check your user’s internet connection. If they do not have a connection, you might want to disable the download and synchronization features so they do not error.

  2. Application security groups

    If you consider deploying a standard application to production, an administrator goes into the Integrated Design Environment (IDE) to set up security groups and user membership. Your offline application is deployed to the app store, which means an admin is not going to set up these groups on the user’s device. Application security groups get released with the application itself, much like roles do. This means the developer controls them, and any changes made will automatically be applied to the application downloaded in the app store.

  3. OpenID Connect Authorization Server

    Your offline application needs to communicate with your core Vinyl system for two reasons. First, to handle user authentication, and second, to download and synchronize data back and forth. Vinyl can now be configured as an identity provider to grant user and data access to your offline application. This is done via the OpenID Connect Discovery protocol. As a part of the handshake between your user’s mobile device and the core Vinyl system, any group membership that maps to your application security groups will be shared. This grants the user only the necessary access to the application.


 See Vinyl’s offline application capability in action

Watch the Demo

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