I was fortunate enough to spend a weekend at Offline Camp in Oregon this month. It was wonderful!

I’ve been really passionate about offline accessibility for a long time, although I’ve only recently learned it has a name: Offline First. Right around the time I learned that, I also had the opportunity to attend Offline Camp and meet a whole bunch of like-minded people. Spending the weekend with lots of socially-conscious individuals and brainstorming ways Offline First can help underprivileged individuals is one of the best ways to spend a weekend.

I’ve talked about the importance of reliable internet access here and here, but I’ll briefly summarize the idea of Offline First.

Offline First is a practice which considers the inevitable – what will happen when your web app goes offline? Offline First knows that your app will at some point go offline, so the idea is to put technology into place to help when that happens.

Additionally, there are many people who live their lives offline. In a world of online services, how can the needs of underprivileged people be met? Offline First attracts many people who are interested in how to help with this problem, and at camp we spent a lot of time talking about what we can do to help.

We talked about using Service Workers to cache online pages in the user’s browser. This would help users move from an online to an offline state, and back again. And we also talked about the future of Electron and Service Workers and how these two technologies work to achieve the same goals. Mesh networks came up in discussion time and again as a potential solution for providing internet access in remote locations.

One of my favorite discussions was talking about the economics of Offline First. I genuinely believe that the only way we’ll get Offline First into the wider consciousness of developers is if we can make a solid business case for it. We focused on making a business case for this and I’m super excited about what comes next from that.

We weren’t focused on Offline all the time though. Some of the best parts were from Passion Talks. Passion Talks are short, five-minute talks about anything you’re passionate about. I really enjoyed getting to know my fellow campers better through hearing about their interests.

Overall, I’d say attending Offline Camp was one of the best decisions I made in 2017. I learned so much, and I’m so hopeful for the future of offline. Many thanks to the organizers who put the camp on: Steven, Gregor, Bradley, and Teri. I know putting camp on was a lot of hard work, but I so appreciate you for doing it.

Note: Offline Camp offers scholarship opportunities for campers. If you’re able to help, it could be life-changing to the scholarship recipient. If you find that you’d like to attend camp, but need assistance, I would highly recommend contacting the organizers.