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Caching vs. live data

Balancing performance with accuracy

This is a slightly techy post, so one to skip if that's not your thing...
When we first designed Perfect Ward, we started with the assumption that users would always want to see the absolutely live data at every stage of using the app. It sounds great, however this comes with a compromise - because the app needs to connect to the server every time you ask for information, this takes time and bandwidth and overall can lead Perfect Ward to run a bit slower than you'd like. Not painfully so, but just not as snappy as it could be. It doesn't have a huge impact on data - the system doesn't call on a lot of data in normal use - but in areas of poor signal the need to call on even that small amount of data can slow things down.
In the next release we are going to try "caching" some of the data in the app - that is, using the data that was retrieved when a user first opened the app rather than always referring back to the server. It seems unlikely that new data will be coming through so quickly that this will cause an issue, and it should make the experience quicker and more responsive. As always we'll look to our users' experiences as to whether this makes a positive difference, and if so then we'll look for other areas where we can effectively cache data to improve performance.
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