Real time updates allow applications to perform tasks as soon as new data is collected, and deliver results or feedback without any noticeable delay. It also allows apps to communicate with each other and deliver messages without users having to reload the app or page.
When developing an application that relies on real-time updates, the first step is to decide how to transfer data between server and client. The most simple option is polling, which works by contacting a server at regular intervals until it receives an answer. However, this method has several drawbacks including resource consumption and a high number of server-side operations.
Another way to transfer real-time data is to use streaming, which transmits data continuously as it is received. This method is more efficient than polling and uses fewer resources, but can still lead to performance issues depending on the data size and how the stream is configured.
To avoid these problems, the WebSocket protocol was introduced to the web to support real-time communications between servers and browsers. It enables web apps to maintain a connection with the server, unlike the short-lived request-response connections of AJAX and can be used for real-time communication between a browser and a web app, chat apps, music sharing web apps, or even for displaying live stock market reports or weather maps.
Achieving real-time updates in mobile apps is essential for improving user experience and enabling a wide variety of business needs. It’s how Dominos lets customers know when their pizza is in the oven or ready for pick up, and how a business tracking inventory can keep up with sales at a global scale.
Real-time updates are also critical for enhancing the security of apps, and helping to protect sensitive user information. For example, financial services companies use real-time analytics to detect fraud at the moment it happens and prevent unauthorized transactions. And, social media platforms use real-time updates to remove dangerous content like fake news and abusive posts from their 4.75 billion daily users.
Real-time updates are an important tool for developers to add to their arsenal to create faster, more responsive apps and websites that can help businesses meet customer demands and drive revenue. With human attention spans shorter than ever, it’s more important than ever to get the right message in front of your target audience at the right time.