It’s not always easy to keep track of all the new features that are being released by browsers. From HTML5, to WebGL, and now local storage. But don’t worry! We have you covered with this post about Local Storage – what it is, how it works, and some common use cases for where you might find yourself using it.
About Local Storage
Local storage, a part of the web storage API, is a type of persistent storage built into the browser. By providing an object-based key/value store that persists even if users don’t have access to network connectivity or other sources of data on their device, local storage provides a way for applications and websites to keep track of information offline. It’s often used in conjunction with other APIs such as Web Storage (which we’ll talk about next) and IndexedDB to provide offline support that scales up from simple caching needs all the way up to complex databases.
Safety First, aka Error Handling:
The issue of local storage availability in modern web browsers is not so straightforward either. Obviously there are cases where you might want prevent your application from running at all if there is no local storage available. But you might also want to consider providing a graceful fallback for those times when the browser doesn’t have access to any persistent data stores by default, but does support Web Storage and IndexedDB (or other APIs).
Common Use Cases:
Here are some common use cases where you would find yourself using Local Storage in your application or website:
- Caching images or PDFs that can be accessed offline – This way they don’t need to be downloaded every time someone visits the page.
- Keeping track of user preferences such as font size and color – If users configure their settings on one device, they’ll see it reflected automatically on another.
- Saving progress so that when a user returns to your website, they can pick up where they left off.
Different Types of Storage:
- Traditional LocalStorage – Stores data in the browser and is persistent by default across sessions or even erasing a device’s local storage configuration. This will be enough for most use cases but it does come with some limitations such as lack of syncing functionality across different browsers on multiple devices, usage limits imposed by mobile carriers (due to how cellular data plans are structured) and performance issues when dealing with large amounts of data for things like caching images.
- Session Storage – Works similarly to traditional local storage except that any changes made during one browsing session won’t persist once the user closes their browser window which means it works best as temporary memory space while users are actively using your application.
- Web Storage – Provides a simple storage interface that can be shared among multiple windows or tabs and synced across devices with the browser’s native data sync functionality, meaning it’s more suited for those cases where you need to do something like cache images so they don’t have to be downloaded every time someone revisits your website.
Local Storage is an essential part of building offline support into web applications and websites, but it’s not a one-size-fits all solution so you’ll need to carefully consider your requirements before choosing which storage API will best fit.