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Moving forward with Composr

ocPortal has been relaunched as Composr CMS. ocPortal 9 is superseded by Composr 10.

Head over to for our new site, and to our migration roadmap. Existing ocPortal member accounts have been mirrored.

Using to turn websites into mobile apps

Using to turn websites into mobile apps You've all seen touch screen interfaces, whether it be the Windows 8 demo, the Sports Illustrated concept, sci-fi interfaces like on Minority Report or Star Trek (LCARS), or actual apps for iOS or Android. There are some key differences between these interfaces (we'll use the term 'apps'), and websites:
  1. Websites are mouse and keyword driven, apps are touch driven.
  2. Websites are viewed on large screens as more or less 'full screen', apps typically are shown on small screens, or windows on larger screens.
  3. The whole metaphor is different. A website follows a publishing metaphor: the layout is carefully designed very specifically). An app uses a software metaphor: prominence goes to the data, layout is something that shines a light on that data. (I am talking here about systems for displaying arbitrary structured information, not games, and so on)
  4. All kinds of animated effects are used to provide transitions on apps, to highlight what the software is doing.

We can show websites on mobile devices, but is is not ideal. The constraints of the devices really make us want to use the mobile app metaphor to create an optimal experience (both for practical, and aesthetic reasons).

Now that ocPortal supports meta-data throughout, a search engine is capable of creating a data model for a whole website. It should therefore be possible therefore to write a search engine that crawls a website, builds up a data model, and then feeds this into a mobile app for browsing through that data with a perfect mobile metaphor. It knows titles, images, summaries, full body text, what data represents and so on, what is new, etc etc.

In other words, all the advanced interfaces we've seen in sci-fi should be produceable from any ocPortal site, or any other site supporting

I think that's pretty darned cool, and it's something I'd love to see. Somebody needs to write this crawler/mobile-app now!

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