Introducing Soundslice offline mode

Posted by Adrian Holovaty on January 19, 2016

Today we’re excited to launch Soundslice offline mode!

Given that Soundslice is a website, we’ve always required you to be online in order to access our music lessons. But many of you have requested an offline mode, for situations where you have a spotty Internet connection, or no connection at all.

This hasn’t been possible and reliable until very recently. Thanks to recent advances in web-browser technology, we’re finally able to offer an offline version!

Here’s how it works. If you’re using a supported browser, you’ll see a “Save offline” button at the bottom of every piece of music (aka “score”) on our site:

Screenshot of save offline message

Click that, and Soundslice will save the score’s data — notation, audio and video — to your computer so it’s available offline. Depending on the size of the audio/video and speed of your connection, it may take a few minutes to download everything.

Once it’s done, you’ll be able to return to that page even if you’re offline. You can test it by disabling your wifi (or wired connection) and reloading the page.

It’s like magic! This isn’t how web pages are supposed to work, right?! Welcome to the future.

Nearly everything in our player works in offline mode: playback of audio/video, seeking, looping, slowdown, notation transposition, hiding parts and synthetic playback. The only things you can’t do while offline are:

Every score you’ve saved for offline use will have a small “Offline mode enabled” message at the bottom of the page:

Screenshot of offline mode enabled message

Of course, we can’t expect you to remember (or bookmark) the URLs to all your offline Soundslice material. So we’ve added an easy way for you to access it: just visit any page on while offline. You’ll get a message saying you’re offline, plus a list of links to everything you’ve saved for offline use. Here’s what that looks like:

Screenshot of offline list page

Putting this all together, here’s how we’d recommend using offline mode:

There’s one big caveat about Soundslice offline mode: due to the newness of the underlying technology, it’s currently only supported by recent versions of Google Chrome and Opera. Firefox will support it in about a week, when version 44 is released (how’s that for bleeding edge?!).

Apple has made some small signals that they’ll support this in Safari/iOS. You can help by contacting them here to voice your support. Tell them you want them to implement “service worker” in Safari so you can access Soundslice offline mode.

(By the way, if your browser doesn’t support this, you won’t see the “Save offline” button at all.)

Even if you don’t take advantage of Soundslice offline mode or your browser doesn’t support it, you’ll find that accessing music lessons on our site has become much faster; scores are quicker to load and in some cases appear nearly instantly. Enjoy the new snappiness!

Finally, a note for our licensing partners: unfortunately, offline mode isn’t available for our embed version. That’s because our embed is, well, embedded in your own site! Even if our embed is available offline, you’d need to implement offline mode for your site (i.e., the page that contains the Soundslice iframe) in order for it to be possible. We plan to provide some documentation on how you can do this in the future.

It’s only a matter of time before more and more sites offer offline mode like this; Soundslice is one of the very first. Enjoy the new feature, and please let us know how it goes — we’d love to hear your feedback.