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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Fig Leaf Software launches new Mobile Sencha Touch site: www.archbalt.org/mobile

Hiring Fig Leaf Software to develop their overall web strategy, the Archdiocese of Baltimore requested that we build them a mobile web app that could enable users visiting their public site to more readily access information from their Apple, Android, and Blackberry devices.
Mobile News Screen
Mobile School Search
Fig Leaf Software recommended using Sencha Touch, a mobile development framework built on top of native web standards.  We chose Sencha Touch because the platform is a free, open source toolkit that enables rapid development of multi-device compatible apps using web standards - HTML5, CSS3, and Javascript.  In addition, this solution enables us to develop a single codebase to support multiple devices and can be executed through either a mobile web browser or installed as a native mobile app from the Android Marketplace or Apple App Store.

The process for developing the new mobile application took Archdiocese key stakeholders through sequential steps to the launch of the new app.  We began with a Mobile Discovery, Creative and Technical Session. This was followed by the development of wireframes, a creative design and stylesheets that reinforced their branding,  and culminated with the creation of a mobile prototype.  Our implementation included integrating with the organization’s web content management system (PaperThin’s CommonSpot CMS) to eliminate redundant data entry and maintenance.  Following quality assurance and testing we launched the mobile site and compiled it to native apps in the Apple Store and Android marketplace for easy deployment through multiple delivery channels.

In terms of Innovation: Our design leverages the hardware and software that comes bundled with a handheld device (phone dialing, email, and geo-location) in order to remove 95% of keyboard input that would be required by a similar desktop-based application. It also uses Google Maps, the Google Directions API, and Google Street View in order to provide users with turn-by-turn driving directions to a parish, school, or church.

Mobile Event Search
  Sencha Touch enabled Fig Leaf Software to build an Archdiocese of Baltimore mobile web app that runs on multiple devices at multiple resolutions in a fraction of the time and cost that it would have taken to produce a similar native app using Objective-C on iPhone and Java on Android.  There was no need to fund separate development initiatives or maintain separate code bases, resulting in total cost of ownership and maintenance costs being cut by 70% or more over using a native app development approach.

The mobile web apps can be converted to native apps for iOS and Android within minutes using PhoneGap.  Sencha Touch and PhoneGap are both open-source, and both are free.

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