How apps are providing "Offline" content

How apps are providing "Offline" content

The new trend emerging in internet community is to deliver content "Offline". The term 'offline' means without connecting to 'Internet'. Whoa!! You mean I can watch videos, read books, listen to music and that too without connecting to internet? What kind of magic is this? What kind of 'hocus-pocus' they did to achieve this? Does it mean no more Internet data pack charges? Well unfortunately the answer to all these questions is a big No.

What is offline:-  

Here, 'offline' simply means to make the content available even when a user is not connected to internet. In my latest app Engshala I have used the same philosophy of making content available 'offline' i.e. when user is not connected to internet he/she can still access our content and read/use it with similar ease as it was done via Internet connection. Similary, YouTube is making the video available even when user is not connected to internet. 

Myth  - 'Offline' means without connecting to internet:-

In a way yes, 'Offline' does mean without connecting to internet, but here it does not mean that an app will not use internet at all. If you never connect your phone to internet, the YouTube Offline feature will not work. So, to use an app like YouTube "Offline", first you have to come "Online".

How this Works:-

For example, in YouTube when you are online, you can 'mark' a video as 'watch offline'  and your 'YouTube' app will download the video in smaller chunks whenever your phone gets connected to internet. This will happen in code behind, you will not need to open your YouTube app again and again. Once the video is downloaded on your phone, you can watch it on YouTube without any internet connection, means "Offline". This is the same way how you read messages on your WhatsApp even when you are not connected to internet. 

Behind the scenes:-

In my app Engshala, I have used the same funda of making the content available "Offline". All apps like Engshala or YouTube uses the background processing of phone. A connection to internet wakes up the handler and if there is any request for new content (like a YouTube video) , then handler connects to the server and downloads the requested content. All this happens without any user interference. Once the content is downloaded, app may send an alert message (ting, ting) so users gets notified of the completion of event. This notification part may vary from app to app as per the choice of app developers.

Simlarly, in Engshala, the new content keeps on updating and users can see a 'badge' (if the phone supports) with the number of new items received. The user does not need to stay connected to internet to read the new content. 

"A word may have a meaning which is contrary to it's definition."