How to
April 7, 2022

Building a CMS for mobile

Building a CMS for mobile

Mobile apps are the best way to deliver rich native experiences, but the app a user installs is often just a dumb shell that needs content to come alive. Whether you’re a mobile developer building an online store, local news or events app you’ll likely need to update and add new content the entire time. It would make little sense to include this content in the code itself for an obvious list of reasons:

  • Slow release cycles: Any code chance in your app needs to be approved by the relevant app stores. Meaning your content would take at least a day to set live (and then there’s the problem of people not updating their old versions)
  • Blocked by developers: By including your content in the app it means that only developers can change it. Their time is expensive and they are often not best placed to know the necessary changes, that is usually the responsibility of an editorial or product team.
  • Duplicate data: If you have both an Android and iOS app well you’ll have different sources of truth, requiring you to update content in two places or risk them going out of sync.

A better way is to power your app with a single system. There are a few options when it comes to this:

  • Build it yourself: About the only benefit you get out of this is that it is fully custom to your own needs. But it comes at the tall expense of that aforementioned precious engineering time to build and maintain.
  • API-based CMS: A relatively new category of product exists that lets you query content from a server in JSON format but that still leaves you with a lot of work to do in terms of building a data schema, not to mention a collaborative editor for non engineers.
  • Mobile based CMS: Products like Contentful market themselves specifically for the mobile use case but do little by way of caching and displaying the content on device, two key requirements for any great mobile app.

What you really need is an altogether better solution. One that does everything the above claim to and more. One that works offline as well as on. One that can be collaboratively edited by the whole team. One that allows you to show / hide content by targeting users based on attributes. One that looks exactly like your app, and feels as good as it too.

What you need is Unflow.

For those of you unfamiliar, Unflow is a way for mobile teams to ship mobile experiences for the core flows in your app. Up until now it’s been possible to serve a variety of use cases using Unflow. Our customers rely on us to prompt app updates, share new features, and request NPS ratings. But with our new Custom Openers feature you can now build an entire app on top of the Unflow ecosystem.

Check out the launch video to see the news app we built using Unflow:

Or if you’d like a full coding tutorial on the app see how one of our engineers, Alex, built it:

If you want to see the full implementation, take a look at the GitHub repo.

What are you waiting for?

Make apps smarter,
with Unflow

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