Offline Web Apps on GitHub Pages

Service Workers are a response to the problems of Application Cache, and they’re a powerful and elegant way to offline your web app. But they’re also more complex to implement and maintain.

Meanwhile, GitHub Pages is a great, simple static host for offline-first apps. But deploying apps to GitHub Pages requires manual configuration, especially if you develop with a team, utilize some variant of the GitHub Flow, and want to set up continuous deployment.

Oghliner is an npm package that simplifies both offlining an app with Service Workers and deploying the app to GitHub Pages (including continuous deployment using Travis CI). Oghliner’s goal is to make it as simple as possible to offline and deploy a web app.

To start using Oghliner, install it globally:

> npm install --global oghliner

If you have an existing app in a GitHub repository, invoke the integrate command to configure it. That command copies an offline-manager.js script (which registers the service worker) into your app and reminds you to load that script in your app’s page(s)/template(s) (one of the few steps that Oghliner doesn’t yet automate).

> oghliner integrate
Integrating Oghliner into the app in the current directory…

? Copying offline-manager.js to ./… done!

Oghliner has been integrated into the app!

The app needs to load the script offline-manager.js in order to register
the service worker that offlines the app. To load the script, add this line to 
the app's HTML page(s)/template(s):

<script src="offline-manager.js"></script>

And commit the changes and push the commit to the origin/master branch:

git commit -m"integrate Oghliner" --all
git push origin master

Then you can offline and deploy the app using the offline and deploy commands.

? For more information about offlining and deployment, see:
    https://mozilla.github.io/oghliner/

If you don’t yet have an existing app, start a new app by creating a new repository on GitHub, cloning it to your local machine, and invoking the bootstrap command from its working directory.

> git clone git@github.com:mykmelez/offline-app.git
Cloning into 'offline-app'...
…
> cd offline-app/
> oghliner bootstrap
Bootstrapping current directory as Oghliner app…

Your app's configuration is:

Name: offline-app
Repository: git@github.com:mykmelez/offline-app.git
Description: A template app bootstrapped with oghliner.
License: Apache-2.0

Would you like to change its configuration (y/N)? 

Creating files…
? Creating README.md
? Creating .gitignore
? Creating gulpfile.js
? Creating package.json
? Creating app/favicon.ico
? Creating app/fonts
? Creating app/index.html
? Creating app/robots.txt
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-114x114.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-120x120.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-144x144.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-152x152.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-57x57.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-60x60.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-72x72.png
? Creating app/images/apple-touch-icon-76x76.png
? Creating app/images/favicon-128x128.png
? Creating app/images/favicon-16x16.png
? Creating app/images/favicon-196x196.png
? Creating app/images/favicon-32x32.png
? Creating app/images/favicon-96x96.png
? Creating app/images/mstile-144x144.png
? Creating app/images/mstile-150x150.png
? Creating app/images/mstile-310x150.png
? Creating app/images/mstile-310x310.png
? Creating app/images/mstile-70x70.png
? Creating app/scripts/main.js
? Creating app/scripts/offline-manager.js
? Creating app/styles/stylesheet.css

? Creating files… done!
? Installing npm dependencies… done!

Your app has been bootstrapped! Just commit the changes and push the commit
to the origin/master branch:

git add --all && git commit -m"initial version of Oghliner app"
git push origin master

Then you can build, offline, and deploy the app using gulp commands.

? For more information about building, offlining and deployment, see:
    https://mozilla.github.io/oghliner/

Finally, commit the changes to complete the configuration.

> git add --all && git commit -m"initial version of Oghliner app"

Now that your app is configured, you can build, offline, and deploy it. Bootstrapped apps include a gulpfile.js build script. To build them, install Gulp globally:

> npm install --global gulp

Then simply invoke gulp:

> gulp

To offline your app, invoke the offline command to generate the service worker that offlines your app, specifying the directory containing the files to offline.

> oghliner offline dist/
Offlining dist/ to dist/offline-worker.js…

? Caching "dist/favicon.ico" (384 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-114x114.png" (278 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-120x120.png" (285 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-144x144.png" (321 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-152x152.png" (320 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-57x57.png" (242 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-60x60.png" (242 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-72x72.png" (247 B)
? Caching "dist/images/apple-touch-icon-76x76.png" (247 B)
? Caching "dist/images/favicon-128x128.png" (298 B)
? Caching "dist/images/favicon-16x16.png" (216 B)
? Caching "dist/images/favicon-196x196.png" (380 B)
? Caching "dist/images/favicon-32x32.png" (232 B)
? Caching "dist/images/favicon-96x96.png" (269 B)
? Caching "dist/images/mstile-144x144.png" (323 B)
? Caching "dist/images/mstile-150x150.png" (316 B)
? Caching "dist/images/mstile-310x150.png" (411 B)
? Caching "dist/images/mstile-310x310.png" (610 B)
? Caching "dist/images/mstile-70x70.png" (246 B)
? Caching "dist/index.html" (3.08 kB)
? Caching "dist/robots.txt" (102 B)
? Caching "dist/scripts/main.js" (151 B)
? Caching "dist/scripts/offline-manager.js" (1.1 kB)
? Caching "dist/styles/stylesheet.css" (107 B)
Total precache size is about 10.41 kB for 24 resources.

To deploy the app (including the service worker) to GitHub Pages, invoke the deploy command, again specifying the directory containing your app’s files.

> oghliner deploy dist/
Deploying "initial version of Oghliner app" to GitHub Pages…

? Cloning git@github.com:mykmelez/offline-app.git into .gh-pages-cache… done!
? Cleaning… done!
? Fetching origin… done!
? Checking out origin/gh-pages… done!
? Removing files… done!
? Copying files… done!
? Adding all… done!
? Committing… done!
? Pushing… done!

All Oghliner commands are also available via a module interface, so you can integrate them into your Node-based build scripts using tools like Grunt and Gulp. If you bootstrapped your app using Oghliner, its gulpfile.js already has offline and deploy tasks (which you can also use as an alternative to the previous commands).

Finally, invoke the configure command to configure an app to automatically deploy to GitHub Pages using Travis CI whenever you merge a change into your app’s master branch (provided the build completes successfully and tests pass, of course!).

> oghliner configure

Configuring Travis to auto-deploy to GitHub Pages…

Your repository has a single remote, origin.
Ok, I'll configure Travis to auto-deploy the origin remote (mykmelez/offline-app).

To check the status of your repository in Travis and authorize Travis to push
to it, I'll create GitHub personal access tokens, for which I need your GitHub
username and password (and two-factor authentication code, if appropriate).

? For more information about GitHub personal access tokens, see:
    https://github.com/settings/tokens

Username: mykmelez
Password: 

× Checking credentials… error!

You're using two-factor authentication with GitHub.
Please enter the code provided by your authentication software.

Auth Code: 123456

? Checking credentials… done!
? Creating temporary GitHub token for getting Travis token… done!
? Getting Travis token… done!
? Deleting temporary GitHub token for getting Travis token… done!
  Creating permanent GitHub token for Travis to push to the repository…
? Creating permanent GitHub token for Travis to push to the repository… done!

? You had an existing token for this app, so we deleted and recreated it.

? Checking the status of your repository in Travis… done!

Good news, your repository is active in Travis!

? Encrypting permanent GitHub token… done!
? Writing configuration to .travis.yml file… done!

? You didn't already have a .travis.yml file, so I created one for you.
  For more information about the file, see:
    http://docs.travis-ci.com/user/customizing-the-build/

You're ready to auto-deploy using Travis!  Just commit the changes
in .travis.yml and push the commit to the origin/master branch:

git add .travis.yml
git commit -m"configure Travis to auto-deploy to GitHub Pages" .travis.yml
git push origin master

Then visit https://travis-ci.org/mykmelez/offline-app/builds to see the build status.

Travis will then deploy successful builds (on the master branch):

Travis auto-deploys to GitHub Pages

A few caveats to note:

  • Deployments sometimes take a few minutes to show up on GitHub Pages.
  • Service Workers require that you load the app over an encrypted (HTTPS) connection. All GitHub Pages can be loaded over such a connection, even though GitHub does not officially support it.
  • Service Workers are available in Chrome, Opera, and the Developer Edition of Firefox. They’ll ship in Firefox 44.

Mozilla’s Web App Developer Initiative engineering team built Oghliner because we think Service Workers are a great way to offline web apps, and GitHub Pages are a great way to deploy them, so we wanted to see how much better the combination could be.

We’ve used Oghliner in our own projects, like this presentation and Platatus, and we hope you find it delightful. So learn more about it, try it out, and let us know how it works for you!

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