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Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Archdiocese of Baltimore New Mobile App for iPhone and Android phones

"On October 11, 2012 Archbishop William E. Lori announces the launch of the Archdiocese of Baltimore’s new App for iPhone and Android phones on the first day of the Year of Faith at the offices of the Catholic Review on Oct. 11." (TOM McCARTHY JR. | CR STAFF)

From Left: Tim Rodgers, Archbishop William E. Lori, Bret Peters of Fig Leaf Software, Renee Spadaro and Bill Glover gathered at the Catholic Review Media headquarters to unveil the new Archdiocese of Baltimore App.  Photo credit “Catholic Review Media, Tom McCarthy, Jr. Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Archdiocese of Baltimore Mobile Case Study
NOTE: If you are viewing from outside of the Baltimore Diocese enter zip code 21144 

The Project 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.

The Solution 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: The 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.

The ResultsSencha 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 were converted to native apps for iOS and Android using PhoneGap.  Sencha Touch and PhoneGap are both open-source, and both are free.


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