Mobile Content Management Systems
Mobile Content Management Systems
February 15, 2012
Updated August 23, 2012
Most of the current mobile content management systems available are quite similar. The primary service they offer is simple data storage, with features like push notifications, geographical search, and social integration (Facebook and Twitter). The data storage offers CRUD (Create, Read, Update, and Delete) methods for standard JSONish documents (collections of key-value pairs) and for unstructured binary files. All of these systems offer search functionality for structured data. However, the range of apps that could be built this way is somewhat limited by the fact that most backends involve CRUD methods, and then a little extra stuff. Examples of “extra stuff” include validation, complex search, and application behaviors that go beyond data management (matching compatible users, for example).
The types of mobile apps that can be developed on these systems are ones that only require basic data management from their backends. In these apps the majority of the action is on the client side, with the backend acting as a cloud based database, perhaps replacing the local databases used by many mobile apps. Other interesting things you could do with the features offered by these services include sharing objects between users, pushing notifications to users, and storing and searching locations (as in, find all points in the database within 2 miles of point A).
We have compiled a list and analysis of current mobile content management systems based on some of our research. Enjoy!
CloudMine—This service is one of the newer mobile CMS services available, but we believe it has a lot of potential. It allows developers to run some code on the server side, which partially reduces the limitations of CRUD. In theory, since it can run server side code, it could expand beyond this feature set, although in working around the limitations one might end up wasting the effort saved by using the services in the first place.
Currently, CloudMine’s design philosophy and the pace at which it is adding new features is very good, but the product is too immature for general use. In a few months, this could improve.
StackMob—Allows developers to run some code on the server side, which partially reduces the limitations of CRUD. In theory, since it can run server side code, it could expand beyond this feature set, although in working around the limitations one might end up wasting the effort saved by using the services in the first place.
Overall, this StackMob has very mature custom code capabilities (Java/Scala). This system is the one to choose for additional features beyond the available feature set.
Kinvey—Helps developers setup, use and operate a cloud backend for their mobile apps. Kinvey allows developers to code their app using any SDK of their choice, then connect the app to Kinvey’s backend features using auto-generated APIs and libraries. This new tool introduces two new mobile firsts: 1) backend middleware and data layers sit across multiple cloud service providers, so if one goes down, Kinvey is always up AND 2) Kinvey supports any mobile OS platform including iOS, Android, Windows, Blackberry, HTML5, etc.
CocoaFish—Allows users to build mobile apps without writing any server code. API features include social integration, checkins, event planning, connect users, instant chatting, ratings & review & likes, geolocation, push notifications, and more. CocoaFish works on all platforms including mobile iOS and Android, Flash in the browser, Ruby on the server side and more.
Urban Airship—One of the first services to tie push notifications, rich push, in-app purchases and subscriptions together into third-party service applications for developers. The rich push notifications are compatible with iOS, Android, BlackBerry, and numerous other mobile devices. In 2011, Urban Airship acquired SimpleGeo, which provides similar backend support, but from a location perspective. This system uses programming languages like Java and Python.
MobileBits—Pringo Connect, a proprietary digital platform from MobileBits, includes everything a company needs to integrate external and internal content into one easy to use extensible platform. From full rich media delivery via a universal wrapper to complete social and communication features, the Pringo Connect solution empowers business to create a flexible experience across multiple devices including mobile, tablets and web. Their specialties include end-to-end digital solutions, local merchant, QSR mobile solutions, and rich media delivery solutions.
Rhodes—Based on Ruby, Rhodes provides a full server environment on the device and access to native features. Developers can use this to write their applications one time and run them on any major mobile device OS. This system will only work for data-based apps because there is no support for audio and video.