What is BackBone?
Toolbox Design BackBone is a cross-platform application framework designed from the outset to deliver rich, dynamic content from a range of content management systems. Backbone uses an advanced content caching engine that automatically downloads content in the background. It intelligently adapts between pre-caching and on-demand download processes to ensure the app has the best possible offline user experience without needlessly consuming data connections and bandwidth.
It us widely accepted that many mobile phone users are inconsistent in downloading application updates so the BackBone core goes beyond simply providing dynamic content, allowing the entire application to be re-configured and extended without the need to republish the application. If you decide at some point after publication that you wish to add an additional page, button, survey or web link, this can all be done via the CMS with no need to upgrade.
Beyond the BackBone core, the framework is designed to be highly-flexible and a range of modules can be added to provide whatever extra functionality is needed. They include:
Analytics provides immediate understanding of how your customers are using your app, allowing you to enhance the customer experience and improve your services. All Toolbox applications have the option of adding real-time analytics data using both Flurry and Google Analytics (both free services) to obtain accurate, real time data. The information collected is anonymous, and includes aggregated usage and performance data that can be analysed with robust and powerful online reporting tools.
The news module lets you deliver a wide range of information to your users. The content is in HTML format and can include almost anything normally displayed on a web page. Existing clients have used the news module to deliver newsletters, special offers, vouchers, and product brochures. Content can be delivered from a range of content systems, and by default we support RSS and our own custom CMS.
The BackBone directory module is capable of storing many thousands of categorised records. The content of the directory is stored locally for offline searches and as with all our modules, the content can be updated when online invisibly in the background from our CMS. Advanced searches and category-based browsing make finding specific records quick and easy.
Devices such as smartphones and tablets are the perfect tools for collecting many types of content, and the survey module is a useful way of collecting surveys, questionnaires, checklists, forms and polls. The completed forms can be entered offline, and are posted back to the server as soon as a the device obtains a reliable connection. The completed forms are then accumulated and presented in easy-to-understand reports.
The social module can download, cache, and display content from all the major social networks including Twitter, Facebook, Flicker and YouTube. Having this content cached within the app enables the user to view the content offline, and it can be customised to ensure the pages reflect your individual branding.
The in-app purchase module is an easy way to generate revenue from your app. The purchase module supports monthly subscriptions to unlock features or the purchase of items on a case-by-case basis.
The store locator module is a useful way of allowing the user to search a database that includes a location element such as restaurants, stores, or points of interest. The data is supplied from the CMS (or your own custom web service) and is cached for offline searching. The results of the search can also be displayed on an internal map for easy navigation.
Deep, Rich Push notification
Push notification is a useful way of sending messages to targeted sets of users, even if they are not currently running the app. BackBone goes further than sending simple push notifications, allowing you to push content within any of the core modules to create rich messages containing HTML, images, audio, video, store locations and more.
The BackBone social networking module contains everything required to create a full community within an app with account creation, commenting, sharing, friendships and social media integration. These features make apps more engaging and crucially they help spread content throughout the user’s existing social networks creating a viral effect and therefore increasing app downloads.