You may be well aware of the benefits of using DNN as a content management solution for websites but few are aware of they can use DNN to build outstanding mobile apps. We love the security, flexibility and functionality offered by DNN, so why not use it for building and managing apps?
There are several services on the market for managing mobile app content but the problem is that it creates more work when you have to log into your website to manage web content and your mobile CMS to manage your mobile content—especially when the content might be the same for both channels. If your app uses push notifications, then you might otherwise need yet another third party site to log into and send out your push notifications. Using DNN as both your website and mobile app content management system removes the bottleneck and allows you to take advantage of the features already built into your website. Yes, you can even send push notifications right from your DNN site!
There are several ways of using DNN to build mobile apps. I’ll give you a brief overview of each of these methods as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each. The complexity, functionality and budget for your project will determine the best solution.
- App Store App - This is the name I’ve given to the most simple type of app. This is great for projects on a lower budget where most of the content is static. With this type of project, we create a basic HTML site using PhoneGap Build. PhoneGap Build is a cloud-based solution that turns your website into a mobile app for various platforms simultaneously (iOS, Android™, etc.). Content is grabbed off of one of your DNN pages and displayed within the app. The user interface is created as part of the HTML site.
Using our Revolution product on the DNN store gives you all the templates and instructions to create your own app store app. There is documentation included to walk you through the process step-by-step.
The disadvantage of this solution is that it does not support dynamic content, user login, or push notifications.
- App Store Web Apps – Using this solution, you can actually load your DNN site directly inside your app. You can still use PhoneGap Build to create apps for iOS and Android™ and to the end user, it looks just like a native app. Your DNN theme becomes your user interface which can be changed dynamically even after you publish your app.
This solution supports dynamic content, user login and 3rd party modules but does not work will for push notifications.
- Native Apps – Native apps by far offer the most flexibility but require a greater financial investment. With a native app, you can still load a DNN site directly inside your app but native apps allows us to register users for push notifications which can be sent out through your DNN site. This is part of our Revolution Premium solution on the DNN store. We’ve created apps where the footer navigation is native, but the content is all dynamic in DNN. This allows us to do things like create dynamic badges on icons within the footer.
All of these are hybrid solutions that deliver the power of DNN to the mobile arena and make it easier than ever to create and manage mobile apps. To learn more about our Revolution products that provide you with out of the box templates for building immersive mobile experiences, visit our page on the DNN store.