With Composr Mobile SDK, Composr websites can be supplemented by custom native Android and iOS apps, extending your reach to wider audiences, engaging with you wherever they are.
As of 2014, 1,244.89 million smartphones and 285 million tablets are used globally and the numbers will continue to grow.
We should note that Composr Mobile SDK is a toolkit for programmers, not a "Composr app". Early on we realised that making an out-of-the-box app to mimic a website could never meet the expectations users have for apps. Mobile users are looking for simple optimised experiences that work on the go, from a small screen, with limited bandwidth - rather than full-featured web portal functionality. This is why we have focused on making mobile app development easier instead of trying to replace it.
Here's a run-down of the main features of Composr Mobile SDK:
- Programmers can create apps to go with a Composr website with greatly reduced effort. We have mirrored all the core parts of the Composr - API as native iOS and Android libraries, greatly reducing the time required to port code. Additionally, we have mirrored parts of the PHP APIs.
- Query your SQLite database in a similar way to how you do within Composr.
- Set up custom database upgrading code (something not possible out of the box with SQLite).
- Create forms, and gather inputs, similar to how you do it within Composr.
- Simple remote procedure calls, to connect to the Composr website - direct transfer of form contents.
- Prebuilt interfaces and functionality for log in, log out, signup, and password reset.
- Prebuilt "Contact Us" interface
- Sync member, usergroup, and privilege information from Composr to the app (at login), for easy app adjustments based on permissions.
- Support for both iOS and Android (other platforms could come later, if there's enough interest)
- Download and display RSS feeds, for easy content integration (Composr supplies filterable RSS feeds for all content types).
- Support for native push notifications. On the Composr website just choose which notification types should get pushed to your paired device, and it will happen.
- Sample app to get you going.
- Fully unit tested code.
- Migration tools to help you transfer theme images and language strings from a Composr website to your app.
Why a native app rather than a webapp? Here are a few reasons:
- Lower battery usage.
- Lower bandwidth usage (faster, works better in areas of poor or contested connectivity, lower monthly billing).
- More responsive user interface (app interfaces are pre-downloaded as a part of the app, so only basic data needs to be transferred to/from the Composr website).
- Optimised user experience, a clean slate for creating really optimal flows.
- Access to native functionality that is not yet possible in HTML5.
- Visibility within app stores.
Over time we expect the scope of Composr Mobile SDK to continue to grow, as ocPortal has done through versions 1 through 10. We're still at the beginning of this journey, and even with the massive adoption mobile has had, mobile app development in general is still in its infancy stage.
We can also announce we are releasing built-in Composr support for TapaTalk (the cross-platform native forum app). This will mean Composr forums (Conversr) should work out-of-the-box with TapaTalk and Forum Fiend. Thanks to The Mk1 Golf Owners Club for helping us fund this!
We will also continue to support mobile mode and responsive design within Composr, as mobile websites also have a big part to play in the future.
This was the final of five weekly news posts discussing the future of ocPortal.
Composr CMS has been in development ever since ocPortal v9 has come out. We've been somewhat secretive of the overall re-launch because we knew it would take a lot of time and didn't want to get ahead of ourselves. We aren't giving a release date yet because product releases aren't a source of income, so the investment is sustained through our private client work, and done between projects. Never-the-less, it is a huge priority for us so we are getting this information out now, and pushing forward for a release ASAP.