DrupalGap and Cross Platform Development

In order to not re-invent the wheel, it is very important that Native App Development is merged with existing Web technologies. Drupal is one among the more popular website development tool. Drupal sites are everywhere, from the White house  to the official Belgian Govt. site. Most eCommerce sites today are developed using Drupal 7. The continuing dominance of the CMS has mandated the open source community to expand its base to mobile development

PhoneGap is an extremely popular cross platform development tool. Creating a stand alone, third party tool in Drupal 7 using PhoneGap was absolutely ingenuous. As the name suggests DrupalGap bridges the Gap between Drupal websites and mobile applications. The technologies used in DrupalGap are JQueryMobile, PhoneGap and Drupal. Both IOS and Android Apps can be created using DrupalGap.

Let me take the example of a simple news media site to explain the benefits of merging a CMS site with mobile technology using Drupalgap. Typical news media website has a ticker for breaking news, one section for the new videos, a section for twitter feed etc. On a computer the website is friendly, but the same site on a mobile (having a small screen) can be very cumbersome. The best solution would be to keep the website as it and based on the user login display only favorites and the latest news for the mobile user. So the two themes can be managed using DrupalGap.

Using Drupalgap we can check the user credentials and also filter the content to be displayed on the App. Existing Drupal sites do not have to re-architecture their design. All that is needed is to develop a native app in either iOS or Android or Windows mobile and have the App communicate with the Drupal website via Drupalgap.

The cool thing about using this module is that we can continue using the login, user permissions, roles, content types and other salient features of Drupal 7 from a smart phone. The interface is smooth and captures the native features of the smart phone. Since Drupal permits multiple themes developers just need to create a web responsive design using HTML 5.

If you are planning to build a site from the scratch, my recommendation would be to build it using a Web Responsive Design in Drupal 7. Install and setup Drupalgap. Decide on the features that will be available on the mobile device and using ‘Permissions’ customize the look and feel on the mobile device. Thus ensuring a good user experience from both the desktop and the mobile device.

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