OPC IT. Managed services and web development in Canberra.

The Speed of App Development

The speed of app development
2 August 2016
Authored by: 
Toby Wild

A while ago, I wrote a blog and did a presentation on the fact that No, you don’t need an App.  Basically preaching that you don’t need an App if you had a well built and responsive website.

I still stand behind that statement.  You probably don’t need an App as long as your website is responsive, and ideally, not just responsive in that it scales images, but responsive in that elements and functions are hidden and shown depending on how you access the site.

However, if you really think you need an App, you’re in luck.  It has become easier and faster in recent times, and the ability to connect into your Drupal based website provides some fantastic functionality without the massive budget.

Here at OPC, we have been investigating different ways of building different apps.

We built an Android App that calculates the volumetric efficiency of a car’s engine that requires no internet connection at all, so can be used at any time.

Another App we developed as a proof of concept had a phone app that would take a photo, and upload it via Wifi to a Drupal website, inserting a new node, and then allowing anyone who viewed the website to vote on it.

And we have recently finished work on our Panoptic Monitor companion application (only on Android) that takes advantage of a number of Drupal services, such as user authentication, contextual views and organic groups in order to be able to easily monitor your websites from your phone using the Panoptic Monitor subscription service.

These three applications were all built using the PhoneGap framework, and when required, integrated with Drupal using the Services module.

Using the PhoneGap framework allows us to easily tap into features of the phone, such as the Camera, GPS, Accelerometer and more and create robust native applications that can pick up and deliver features beyond where a simple website leaves off.

But there are still downsides - having to support that multitude of Android devices, the long wait times for the Apple Store to verify your code, and the sheer overhead of managing two applications and one website.

But, each month brings new technology to make things easier and more magnificent.