Why Local-First Apps?

Local-first apps allow users to own their data. Evolu stores data in the user's device(s), so Evolu apps can work offline and without a specific server.

How is it different from keeping files on disk? Files are not the right abstraction for apps and are complicated to synchronize among devices. That's why client-server architecture rules the world. But as with everything, it has trade-offs.

The Trade-Offs of the Client-Server Architecture

Client-server architecture provides us with easy backup and synchronization, but all that depends on the ability of a server to fulfill its promises. Internet is offline, companies go bankrupt, users are banned, and errors occur. All those things happen all the time, and then what? Right, that's why the world needs local-first apps. But until now, writing local-first apps has been challenging because of the lack of libraries and design patterns. That's why I created Evolu.

What Does Local-First Mean to Evolu?

Local-first is becoming a broad term for various strategies, an umbrella term, so let me explain what local-first means for Evolu:

  1. Data Ownership
  2. Privacy
  3. No vendor-lockin

Data ownership means all your data is stored in your local SQLite database. Not a subset, not a cache, but all your data. Having all your data stored locally is essential for Evolu. But, of course, everyone needs a reliable backup. That's why privacy is so crucial for Evolu, and that's why Evolu encrypts all your data by default without an exception.

The last point is no vendor-lockin. It's OK to leverage clouds, but it's also harmful to depend on them. That's why Evolu provides a simple open-sourced Evolu Server, a simple message buffer without any specific logic for Evolu apps. Evolu Server is generic for all Evolu apps, so there is nothing to maintain and depend on.