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The Power of Offline Apps: How to Build Seamless Offline Experiences with Dataverse

In our increasingly connected world, it's easy to forget that not everyone has constant access to the internet. Whether it's due to remote locations, unstable connections, or simply being on the go, there are plenty of scenarios where offline functionality is essential. That's where offline apps come in, and with Dataverse, building these apps has never been easier.

Below we will walk through examples and give you an overview of the steps to build an app. If you would like to see more details and my example app then check out this video Power Apps Example with Dataverse Offline. Below is the example app from the video.

Screenshot of an example Offline Inspection App with Power Apps

Why Offline Apps Matter


Offline apps ensure that users can continue to work without interruption, regardless of their internet connectivity. This can be a game-changer in various industries where consistent access to data is crucial. Here are a few key benefits:


  • Increased Productivity: Users can continue their tasks without waiting for a connection, leading to uninterrupted workflows.

  • Data Reliability: Changes made offline are synced automatically when the connection is restored, ensuring data consistency and reliability.

  • User Satisfaction: Providing offline capabilities improves the user experience, making your app more reliable and robust.


Real-World Examples of Offline Apps


  1. Field Service Management: Technicians working in remote areas can access job details, update service records, and capture photos, all without needing an internet connection.

  2. Retail Inventory Management: Store staff can count inventory and update stock levels even if the store’s Wi-Fi is down.

  3. Healthcare Applications: Medical professionals can access patient records and update treatment plans in areas with poor connectivity.

  4. Inspection and Compliance: Inspectors can complete checklists, capture images, and fill out reports on-site without worrying about connectivity issues.


Building an Offline App with Dataverse

Thanks to Dataverse, creating an offline app is now a straightforward process. Follow these steps to get started:


Step 1: Create a Solution

Your app has to be built in a Solution and the only data source that is supported is Dataverse.


Step 2: Create Your Table

In Power Apps, create a new table in Dataverse to hold your data. For example, you might create a table called "Field Service Management" to track service records. It has to be a regular table with Track Changes and Can be taken offline enabled under advanced properties.

A screenshot of the Dataverse Advanced Properties settings.

Step 3: Enable Offline Mode in Power Apps with Dataverse

Create a Power Apps canvas app, add your Dataverse table as a data source, and configure your app to work offline. After you create the App make it offline isn't too bad.


1. Go to Settings in your app.

2. Turn on Can be used offline under the Offline capabilities section.

3. Use the Autogenerated offline profile for simplicity.

Screen shot of the settings screen for enabling Offline

Step 4: Build Your Power Apps Offline App

When you turned on Can be used offline it will add an offline configured screen to your app. You will want to use this for your first run at least.


With your table and offline settings in place, it’s time to build your app:


1. Add a Gallery: Insert a gallery to display records from your Dataverse table.

2. Add an Edit Form: Use an edit form to allow users to update records.

3. Add Save Functionality: Include a button to save changes locally and sync them when online.


Here’s a quick example of settings to make:

// Set the gallery's Items property
Gallery1.Items = Sort(FieldServiceManagement, JobID, Ascending)
// Set the form's DataSource property
Form1.DataSource = FieldServiceManagement
// Set the form's Item property
Form1.Item = Gallery1.Selected
// Add a button to save changes
Button1.OnSelect = SubmitForm(Form1)

That is it. You have a working offline app. Save, publish and then go open it on your Mobile phone or Tablet and give it a whirl. Be sure on your device to click on the globe in the top right corner. Lots of good status info.

Screenshot of the Power Apps Offline Sync Status page

What if I don't have Dataverse?

The method above only works on Dataverse based apps, in Solutions, that you are using from Mobile phones or Tablets. But what if you want to do offline with SharePoint or other data sources?


In those cases, you can still build offline apps, you will just have to use SaveData and LoadData functions to manually cache things. It is much more complicated but don't worry, I do have a video Power Apps Offline SharePoint Apps using SaveData and LoadData.


Conclusion

Offline apps are no longer a luxury; they’re a necessity in our mobile-first world. With Dataverse, building robust offline apps is a breeze, ensuring your users stay productive and your data remains consistent. Whether it’s for field service, retail, healthcare, or compliance, offline functionality can significantly enhance the value and reliability of your applications.


If you need help building your Offline Power Apps app or with any other part of the Power Platform scroll down the page and fill out the Contact Us form. We would be happy to help whether it is 30 minutes of help or 30 years worth. We cover it all. 🤩

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