For the past 6 years, The Distance has been developing a web-based software product, The Core, designed to provide essential content and data services to mobile applications. Due to the inclusion of data packages with all smartphone contracts and the availability of public WIFI, developers can anticipate the users having frequent access to cloud-based information.
By developing a flexible data/content management product The Distance have been able to deliver fresh and easily maintainable content to mobile applications easily and cost-effectively – eliminating the need for completely bespoke backend systems and complicated integration solutions.
Being web-based, the system is highly available to anyone with Internet connection and browser software. Providing simple administration facilities, little training or experience is required for users to manipulate their content using familiar forms and WYSIWYG controls.
Using a platform-agnostic architecture the system is able to serve content to other solutions such as web sites and desktop applications effectively making the content reusable across many platforms.
The Core is under constant development with The Distance bringing on new features as technology requirements of the mobile industry change. The current roadmap of current and future features include:
Optimised for mobile the system The Core provides an efficient platform for data transmission across varying data connections. Using caching, differential and compression techniques to complement an underlying JSON data structure Apps can remain responsive under various testing conditions.
The Core is under constant development with The Distance bringing on new features as technology requirements of the mobile industry change. The current roadmap of current features include:
- Cloud Data Management
- User and Roles
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) for media
- Push Notifications
- In-app Purchase
- Over the Air App Distribution
- Audit Trail
- Optimised Communication of Data (small footprint)
Unlike other third party data services, The Core is licensable and therefore can be hosted internally. The license and architecture also enables The Distance to fully customise the backend interface. This allows for the implementation of custom features and business logic.
The Core has already featured in a variety of applications, including:
- iThinkSmarter – a information and self treatment resource for people suffering from mental health disorders
- FiveStopStory – a short story app designed for people commuting on the underground
- British Forces Foundation – the first ever cross platform app able to generate revenue for the charity by serving news, video, messages, and in-app purchase content via the cloud
- NHS: Ignaz Handbook – a digital companion app for Junior Doctors with bespoke publishing workflows
- NHS: PRASE – a data capture App for volunteers to track patients quality of care/experience during their residence on ward
- Cirrus Leadership App – a native app providing access to leadership course material
- EDF Energy – a staff training/evaluation system
Being built using best practice source control and frameworking techniques The Distance are able to develop a bespoke layer of business on top of the underlying functionality to allow for a custom business workflow to be implemented.
Out of the box The Core provides familiar editing for users to manage data structures. During the initial stages of a project the data structures would be defined and programmed into The Core. This would make them easily manageable with little need for staff training.
In order to ensure rich formatting of textual content, HTML can be used to allow simple and familiar formatting options for the App. Embedded web views can render the content using the same technology as the platforms included web browser, ensuring consistent layout and styling.