Offline First FOMO

Don’t miss our panel at SXSW: “From Mobile First to Offline First”

I am excited to moderate a panel discussion at SXSW this year on Offline First. For the uninitiated, in the smallest nutshell, Offline First concerns how and why to build applications that meet growing standards around handling low (or no) connectivity.

If you aren’t planning on attending our panel at SXSW, you’ll be missing out. So in the spirit of fomenting some mild FOMO, I thought I’d give you a taste of who will be on the panel and what we plan to discuss!

Q: What is your day job?

Dan Zajdband: I just took a job working in fintech here in Argentina. I’m working on a project that is still in the early stages and can’t be mentioned publicly yet.

Nolan Lawson: I work as a Program Manager on the Performance team for Microsoft Edge. Essentially this means I spend all my time figuring out how to make the browser and websites faster.

Maureen McElaney: I am a Developer Advocate for IBM Watson Data Platform, advocating for IBM Cloudant and other cloud database technologies. I work remotely from my home office in Vermont.

Gregor Martynus: I am a System Architect at Neighbourhoodie, a Berlin-based Software Consulting company. We specialise in building Offline First applications and help companies with architecture reviews, training and support to make their apps work offline, too.

Dan Zajdband and Nolan Lawson

Q: In what ways are you involved with the tech community outside of work?

Dan Zajdband: I do a lot of Open Source outside of work and also try to work building community. I run a meetup called BAFrontend in Buenos Aires, it’s the tech meetup with most attendees (about 150 people per event). I also give talks at events and I’m a staff member for Hacks/Hackers Buenos Aires.

Nolan Lawson: I help maintain PouchDB as well as a few other open-source projects. I also do a lot of blogging, conferencing, and meetup-ing.

Maureen McElaney: I founded Girl Develop It Burlington, a non-profit that teaches women to code. Like Nolan, I also do a fair amount of conferencing, meetuping, and blogging. I just recently got my first Open Source PR accepted and I look forward to doing more of that.

Gregor Martynus: I’m founding contributor to an Open Source project called Hoodie, which is a backend for Offline First applications. We coined the term Offline First in 2013 and are promoting its concepts ever since. I’m helping to manage the Offline First community and am co-hosting Offline Camps, which are unconference-style events to discuss Offline First in nice remote places with nice people with diverse perspectives.

Q: How does your day job intertwine with your interest in Offline First?

Dan Zajdband: I was a Knight-Mozilla Fellow working for The Coral Project at The New York Times and I was building a moderation app for a commenting system. I wanted the app to work offline and started doing research on the concept, which lead me to find this community.

Nolan Lawson: On the Edge team, we’re in the process of implementing Web Manifest, Service Worker, Cache Storage, and next-generation IndexedDB, which are all things that are pretty fundamental for modern offline webapps. We’re also actively contributing to the specs for all these things.

Maureen McElaney: In my job as a Developer Advocate for IBM Watson Data Platform, a big part of my job is getting paid to do community organizing, so I’m allowed to strategize with the Offline First community on how to progress and organize. This has been such a rewarding community to be a part of and to help grow. The community connections that I’ve made by being a part of Offline Camp alone have been invaluable. Our involvement has helped us position IBM Cloudant as a leader in the growing Offline First space and has provided fertile ground for the development of new products and new partnerships in collaboration with the community.

Gregor Martynus: I built my first Offline First web application in 2011, and am fascinated by it ever since. At Neighbourhoodie, founded in 2014, we made Offline First a key component of our services. Many of the products we built for our customers have the requirements to work offline. We can feed the experience from these projects back into the Offline First community, which works very well for us.

Gregor Martynus and Maureen McElaney

Q: Do you have any offline first projects you want to discuss at SXSW?

Dan Zajdband: I’m a core contributor for next.js, a framework for building universal React applications, and we are researching ways to make offline-first apps and also the community is bringing new examples.

Nolan Lawson: Yes, PouchDB! I believe it probably offers the best out-of-the-box experience for an offline JavaScript database today, especially when you consider the sophistication of the sync protocol and conflict resolution system. I would like to discuss sync/conflicts because lots of people build offline-first without thinking of this and then it bites them.

Maureen McElaney: I’m going to attend Offline Camp in Berlin and I would encourage you to join the waitlist if you can, or watch out for the next one that will probably be back in the US. It’s a great event. I’ve been accepted to speak at JSConfEU on how Offline First can save the world, covering Offline First apps that promote social change and support public services.

Gregor Martynus: In terms of demand for Offline First, we found the health sector in developing countries to be the most relevant right now. We worked on several projects that got deployed in many countries; including Nigeria, Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone, Somalia and Kenya. Among others we created a lot of tools to help contain the Ebola outbreak in West Africa as well as supporting the search to find a vaccine. In general, I would like to discuss other aspects of Offline First that are less obvious. Like benefits for general user experience, security and commercial viability.

If you are attending SXSW, we hope you will come see our panel titled “From Mobile First to Offline First” at 12:30pm CST on Sunday March 12th. There are also two other panels on offline first at SXSW that we also plan to check out.

If you can’t make it to SXSW, we hope you’ll follow Offline Camp Medium publication and become part of the conversation by joining the community on Slack. See you there!



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Maureen McElaney

Maureen McElaney


OSS DevRel at @IBM . board @vtTechAlliance . my words don’t represent my employer. (