How it came to be
As StoreHub was growing, customers kept having one consistent feature request - customer facing display.
The challenge was, it needed to be affordable in terms of tech. Buying an iPad for a point of sales is okay, but for a mere display, no one would do that, so the app needed to support cheap & crappy Android tablets.
So how did you do it?
The issue was that there were no Android developers on the team. I was remotely familiar with how to build for Android due to some time spent with Unity game engine, but that was it. So we started looking into the ”hybrid” options. And we found it.
After evaluating a few options we realized that I was a React developer, so we should probably try React Native.
So we did, and it worked out really well. The code base for both platforms turned out 99.97% identical
(Android doesn’t handle z-index very well) and development process was pretty smooth.
In fact, I was able to stand up a full working v1 in mere five days.
Major point of the app’s UX was that it wasn’t supposed to have any UX. Users would install it, press a button and presto.
We decided it’s gonna communicate with the POS over local network, so to provide that magic, we needed some kind of service discovery. Luckily, there was a module for that, but it had some stumbles with Android versions. I even contributed to the module to fix some of those stumbles (and I’m not supposed to know Java!), but in the end of the day, we decided we’ll only support discovery on Android >7.
For low-end devices an option to connect manually was implemented.
Due to how some customers use StoreHub POS, a critical requirement was the ability to cache promotional images users upload for
their stores. This presented some serious challenges due to the way this whole thing was handled. Basically,
standard go-to solutions for image caching in React Native didn’t work for us.
So after some thinking I implemented one of those solutions that is really stupid, but you’re always proud of it when you come up with it.
So, the way I did it is, load the image, convert it to Base64 and store in React Native’s Async Storage as a string.
That’s it. No SQLite, no binary data handling, nothing. Just beautiful strings.
Well, maybe not beautiful, but it works and it solved all our issues.
That’s pretty much it. It wasn’t really a big project, so there’s not much more to talk about here.
I do however have a bunch of other stuff I talk about excessively, so if you’re interested, hit that back button at the top and check out my other projects.
Thanks for your time and have an amazing day!