Alpha Test for frc-docs Offline App

Hiya folks. I’m back again with developing new and exciting features for the FRC Documentation Website. This time, I am trialing a Progressive Web Application.

PWA’s are a technology that allows a website to be presented as a near native application, with push notifications and offline loading support. By introducing this technology to frc-docs, we are creating a dynamic offline capable reference that FTAs, CSAs, and teams can use at events for support.

Disclaimer

Before we begin, there is a begin disclaimer:

  • It can break at any time
  • It could use an excessive amount of data usage
  • It could use an excessive amount of CPU/RAM

While points 2 and 3 are highly unlikely, there are risks.

Anyways, let’s get to the app. The app is only functional on Android, and is not functional on any sort of “lite” browser. Only standard Chrome/Firefox. Step by step directions below:

Installation

  1. Visit https://frc-docs--1704.org.readthedocs.build/ on your mobile device
  2. Install the PWA
    a. Chrome: Use the menu in the top right and select “Add to Homescreen”, or click the “Install” button if you get a popup.
    b. Click the right hand three dots, and select “Install”
  3. After about 15 minutes of total usage, the entire website should cache and work offline.

iOS users are welcome to try it with the “Add to Homescreen” button, but iOS has an immense amount of webkit bugs related to PWA that hinder functionality.

What I want from you

  1. General install flow? Was it difficult to install?
  2. After about 15 minutes of total usage, does the application work offline?
  3. Any excess data/storage/CPU usage?
  4. If you are iOS, does it work offline?
  5. Improvements/concerns.

Happy testing!

6 Likes

On iOS 15.3.1 iPhone 12

  1. Super easy to install. Two clicks. When I installed it instead of using the WPILib logo as the icon, it just used a screenshot of the webpage however
  2. From what I can tell, yes. Pages are loading while I am in airplane mode.
  3. See above
  4. As said above the icon. Also dark mode. Might be hard cause I don’t know if read the docs supports it, but when I am in my browser DarkReader handles that and it looks great, but from what I can see extensions do not work in this Safari environment. Other than that it is awesome and I look forward to using it. The webpage even integrates with the notch so that’s cool.

Thanks.

  1. Glad to hear. We know about the icon issue and will be rolling out a fix soon.
  2. That’s a surprise. Nice.
  3. Dark mode for the app itself might be feasible, I’ll open an issue on the repository for some discussion. Unfortunately, we won’t be able to have dark mode for the site itself due to FIRST design restrictions.
1 Like