App Build Asset Requirements

To complete your app build, we need a number of assets. Either you can provide these, or our design team can create them, should you request this via your Client Success Manager.

To create these assets on your behalf, at minimum we require an app name, your company’s branding guidelines, and some high-resolution images of company logos, ideally in vector format, e.g Adobe Illustrator (.ai) files. We will then provide you with a mockup.

The design assets fit on to the app as follows:

 

If you do wish to create all of the app assets yourself, here’s everything that you’ll need to provide:

Adding TheAppBuilder to your Apple Developer and iTunes Connect Accounts

Once you have created your Apple Developer Program account for the public app store, you will need to invite us to your account team, so that we can deploy and manage the app on your behalf.

First, sign in to your Apple Developer Account at https://developer.apple.com, then click on ‘People’:

Now click on the blue ‘Invite People’ button:

In the ‘Invite as Admin’ field, enter developer@theappbuilder.com then click on the blue ‘Invite’ button at the bottom of the screen:

Part one is now complete, but you still need to separately invite us to your iTunes Connect account! Go back to your account overview screen, and this time click on iTunes Connect:

On the next screen, click on the icon for ‘Users and Roles’:

 

Now click on the + icon beside ‘Users’:

And complete the fields as per the below screenshot, with developer@theappbuilder.com in the email field:

Now click ‘Next’. On the next screen, tick the boxes labelled ‘App Manager’, ‘Sales’ and ‘Reports’:

Click ‘Next’. Now on the next screen, leave all the notifications settings as they are, and click ‘Save’.

That’s it! We will receive invitations to your Apple Developer Account and iTunes Connect Account to manage and deploy the app on your behalf.

Enable Liking & Commenting per Channel or Page

Our social features – liking and commenting, can be enabled and disabled at channel level, and even if you have liking and commenting enabled for your channel, you can still choose to disable these for particular articles or pages.

Enabling / Disabling Social Features for a Channel

Click on the Cog Icon at the top of the CMS:

 

 

Then select ‘Channels’ under ‘Channel Management’ on the left menu

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now choose the channel for which you want to enable or disable liking and / or commenting by clicking ‘View’:

On the next screen, you have the ability to enable and disable liking and / or commenting by selecting or de-selecting the check boxes, then clicking ‘Save Changes’

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Enabling / Disabling Social Features for a Page

If you have commenting and / or liking enabled for your channel, you will see the options to turn off commenting and liking for an individual page on the right, just under the Save and Publish Button:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Simply un-tick the required checkboxes to turn off social features for that page.

 

Likes and Comments Enabled
Likes Enabled, Comments Disabled

 

Using Apps Offline

TheAppBuilder Toolkit enables the creation and management of 3 distinct app types;

  1. iOS native apps for Apple mobile devices
  2. Android native apps for smartphones and tablets running Android
  3. HTML5 web apps for all modern browsers on smartphone, tablet and desktop devices

‘Native’ apps can be thought of as being native to the device they are on, ie the content ‘resides’ on the actual device.  ‘Web’ apps reside on a web server and are accessed via browsers and the content does not ‘reside’ on the actual device.  This distinct is the first consideration regarding offline functionality. TheAppBuilder web apps require internet connectivity to login, access content and interact with content.  The web apps therefore do not have any offline functionality whatsoever.  The remainder of this article relates to iOS and Android native apps.

Summary Table

Feature / Content type Available Offline Behaviour Notes
Login Yes First Login must be online
Content update No
Lists Yes All List titles and structure are available offline. Featured Images are not.
Articles / Pages Yes

Titles and body text are available offline. Images and attachments are only available offline if previously accessed online

Embedded media is not available offline

Comments cannot be made offline. Comments on previously viewed articles can be read.

Maps on previously viewed articles can be viewed offline.

RSS No RSS feeds must be online to update, however the titles and images of previously viewed items are viewable. Full content can only be read online.
Webpage widget No Web pages cannot be viewed when offline.
Contact Widget Yes Core contact information is available offline. Images and maps require internet connection.
Gallery Yes Images are available offline if previously viewed online.
Feedback widget Yes The feedback widget can be used to create compose messages when offline for manual sending when online.
Map widget Yes An internet connection is required for the map detail to be viewable for the first time.

Logging in to apps when offline.

When you log in to an app for the first time you must be online.  This is to enable the system to identify what content you have permission to access.

Thereafter the app will attempt to go online to re-verify your credentials every time you open the app. If an internet connection is not available as you open the app the default behaviour is to assume your existing credentials are still valid. This will permit you to continue to access content that you have previously accessed but not to download new content. When you do reconnect, your credentials will be checked in the background and new content downloaded.

A note on logging out: If a user chooses to manually log out of the app via the main menu all previously downloaded content will be cleared and when they log in again the app behaves as if it has been downloaded for the first time.  A user can hide the app to a system tray or close it completely without effecting the downloaded content.


Downloading and Accessing Content

Articles, Pages and Lists

When you first access an app, the whole structure of the app is downloaded including all written content.  This means that if you were to go offline immediately after downloading the app and were never to reconnect you could read all the written content in the app.

Images are downloaded as you browse through the app, therefore an internet connection is required to view an image for the first time.  Once an image has been downloaded it is stored natively along with the written content.  If you do not have an internet connection when reading articles or accessing menus for the first time, placeholder images are displaying indicating that an image will be downloaded when the device is online.

Each time you open an app and every 60 seconds when viewing content, the device checks for new app content.  If you are connected to the internet when opening or accessing the content all new written content will be added to the app and images will be displayed as you browse.

Embedded media

Media such as streaming video, web forms, or other web widgets embedded in pages or articles require an internet connection to be accessed by the app. Where a web link is added with the body of the page or article an internet connection will be required for the user to access the target website.

Attachments

TheAppBuilder supports Mp4 video and Pdf documents as attachments to articles and lists.  The app user will require an internet connection to download these attachments. Once downloaded these items can be viewed on or offline.

Locations

Maps viewed in articles require an internet connection the first time they are viewed but are subsequently available offline.

Commenting

In order to post a comment in the app you must be online.  If you view an article offline that you have previously viewed online then you will be able to view existing comments.  If a user views an article for the first time and is offline they will not see existing comments on that article until they regain an internet connection.

RSS Feeds

If the user attempts to view an RSS feed when offline they will be able to view the list of headlines and descriptors that were previously downloaded. However they will require an internet connection to see the latest updates to the feed and to click through to the full articles online.

Web Page widgets

Web pages cannot be viewed when offline.

Contact widget

If a user views a contact page when offline they will be presented with all the written content, ie the name, address, and any other contact information. If they have not accessed this contact page before they will be presented with a placeholder image.  The contact image will be downloaded only when an internet connection is present.

  • The Contact can be added to address book offline
  • The email user can be used to compose an email offline.
  • The Call user function can be used offline.
  • The map view on the contact page requires an internet connection.

Galleries

The lazy load principle applies to images in gallery which require an internet connection for first viewing but are subsequently accessible offline also.

Feedback widget

The feedback widget can be used to create compose messages when offline for manual sending when online.

Map widget

The list of items in the map widget are available offline and the map can be used to navigate the app offline.  An internet connection is required for the map detail to be viewable.

Supported Environments

Mobile technology is a fast moving area and this list is subject to change over time as new versions of each operating systems and device hardware becomes prominent in the market.  Our general rule is to support the latest two major versions of mobile Operating Systems and Browsers, however we temper this with market realities. One such reality is the slow uptake of new versions of Android, in this case we continue to test across the latest three major versions.


iOS Native Apps

Supported iOS versions are iOS 11 and iOS 12. As of November 2018, these account for 93% of all iOS devices. Apple provide up-to-date data of usage here.

For reference, iPhone and iPad devices running iOS 11 and above are:

iPhone 5S

iPhone SE

iPhone 6 & 6+

iPhone 6s & 6s+

iPhone 7 & 7+

iPhone 8 & 8+

iPhone X

iPhone XR

iPhone XS

iPhone XS Max

iPad Mini 3

iPad Mini 4

iPad Air 2

iPad Pro (all variants)

 


Android Native Apps

Supported Android Versions are 6.0 and above.

Due to the high number of Android devices in circulation, we have to nominate a subset on which to physically test.  Our selection is based on some of the most popular devices sold.


TheAppBuilder WebApp

TheAppBuilder WebApp is compatible with a range of modern browsers, however the following subset of configurations is explicitly supported and tested. Unless specifically stated, the latest version of each browser is supported.

Windows Phone

Operating Systems: Windows Mobile 8.1

Browsers: Internet Explorer

Devices: Nokia Lumia 930,635,630

 

Apple iOS

Operating Systems: iOS 11.x, iOS 12.x

Browsers: Safari, Chrome

 

Android OS

Operating Systems: Android 5.0.x

Browsers: Samsung Browser, Chrome

 

Windows

Operating Systems: Windows 10

Browsers:Chrome, Internet Explorer 10, Internet Explorer 11, Edge, Firefox

 

Apple OSX

Operating Systems: OSX Sierra, High Sierra, Mojave

Browsers: Safari, Chrome


TheAppBuilder Toolkit (Content Management System)

App Editors use TheAppBuilder Toolkit to manage the content of their apps.  The toolkit is a browser based CMS which supports the latest 2 versions of the major browsers.

Supported Browsers

Google Chrome (Recommended)

Safari

Firefox

Internet Explorer 11 and above

Microsoft Edge


Last updated: 5th January 2018

Distribution Options Overview

TheAppBuilder provide iOS and Android native apps in parallel with a Web app for all modern browsers. To assist with the promotion of your apps TheAppBuilder provide a branded app download web page. (Click for example)

This page ensures that you can promote a single link to all your employees irrespective of what device they are choosing to use.

However you will be required to choose the subsequent distribution method of the apps.

Apple Distribution Options

Distribution
Option
User
Population
Distribution Registration Required Approval Required? Certificate Signing
Enterprise Download Employees only Downloaded from TheAppBuilder servers Apple Developer Enterprise Program No Yes
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Employees only Pushed to devices using the MDM solution Apple Developer Enterprise Program No Yes
Apple Volume Purchase Program (VPP) Employees or external stakeholders CSV file of promo codes and urls Apple Deployment Program + VPP Yes No
Public App Store Employees or external stakeholders App Store Apple Developer Program Yes Yes

Enterprise Download

In this option the app user downloads the app to their device directly from the branded download page provided by TheAppBuilder.  This is available for those with corporate or personal mobile devices, however they must be employees or members of the organisation.

To distribute apps in this manner requires your organisation to be registered on the Apple Developer Enterprise Program.  Registration with Apple on this program can take up to a week provided you have all the required information available. Following registration, Apple enforce a 2 week period before you are permitted to publish your first app.  Thereafter there are no time restrictions or approval periods for publishing apps.

There is a signing process for iOS apps which associates your app with your Apple Developer Enterprise Program membership. You will be required to either provide TheAppBuilder Dev Team with access to your Apple Account via the team access function, or have a team member in your organisation who has experience of creating and signing enterprise apps.

Apps distributed in this manner can also be distributed in parallel via an MDM. It is common for enterprises to distribute apps via MDM to users with corporate mobile devices and via Enterprise Download to those using personal devices.

Updates: A drawback of the Apple Developer Enterprise Program method is that when an app update is made all users must re-download the app file.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 3 weeks
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1 day
  • Registrations Cost: £249 per year for Apple Developer Enterprise Program

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Apps can be distributed to your employees via an MDM solution. This often takes the format of an internal app store or automatic installation of apps on company owned devices. Depending on the configuration of your MDM you can distribute to corporate or personal mobile devices belonging to employees or members of your organisation.

Apps distributed in this manner can also be distributed in parallel via Enterprise Download, Volume Purchasing Program (VPP) or the public App Store. It is common for enterprises to distribute apps via MDM to users with corporate mobile devices and via Enterprise Download to those using personal devices.

Registration for this option can be either on the Apple Developer Program or the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. Where the app is MDM only or MDM+Enterprise Download the registration required is on the Apple Developer Enterprise Program. Where the app is distributed via MDM + either VPP or public store the registration required is on the Apple Developer Program.

Registration with Apple on either program can take up to a week provided you have all the required information available. Following registration, Apple enforce a 2 week period before you are permitted to publish your first app.

There is a signing process for iOS apps which associates your app with your Apple Developer Enterprise Program or Apple Developer Program membership. Read more about the signing process here.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 3 weeks
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1 day if MDM only or Enterprise Download, 2 weeks if VPP or Public App Store.
  • Registrations Cost: £0

Apple Volume Purchasing Program (VPP)

Using the Apple Volume Purchasing Program apps are downloaded via a private section of the Apple App Store.  Users access this private store by typing in a unique promo code or clicking on a unique url.  These are unique to each user and are distributed by the employer.  It is possible to distribute to both employees and external stakeholders on either corporate or personal devices.

To distribute apps in this manner requires your organisation to be registered on the Apple Deployment Program.  Registration with Apple on this program can takes about an hour provided you have all the required information available. You are required to have a DUNS number. Following registration, you must enroll on the Apple Volume Purchase Program which take just a few minutes.

When you publish an app there is an approval process with Apple which can take up to 2 weeks.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 2-3 weeks
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1-2 weeks
  • Registrations Cost: £0 per year

Public App Store

User downloads the app via the app store on their device. They can search for the app or be sent a link to it.  Employees and external stakeholders can both download the app on either corporate or personally owned devices.

To distribute apps in this manner requires your organisation to be registered on the Apple Developer Program.  Registration with Apple on this program can take up to a week provided you have all the required information available.

When you publish an app there is an approval process with Apple which can take up to 2 weeks.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 2-3 weeks
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1-2 weeks
  • Registrations Cost: £79 per year

Android Distribution

Distribution
Option
User
population
Distribution Registration Required Approval Required? Certificate Signing
Enterprise Download Employees or external stakeholders Downloaded from TheAppBuilder servers None No No
Mobile Device Management (MDM) Employees only Pushed to devices using the MDM solution None No No
Public App Store Employees or external stakeholders Play Store Android Yes Yes

Enterprise Download

In this option the app user downloads the app to their device directly from the branded download page provided by TheAppBuilder.  This is available for employees or external stakeholders on corporate or personal mobile devices.

There is no registration with Google required and there is no signing process for your IT dept to undertake.

Apps distributed in this manner can also be distributed in parallel via an MDM. It is common for enterprises to distribute apps via MDM to users with corporate mobile devices and via Enterprise Download to those using personal devices.

Updates: A drawback of this method is that when an app update is made all users must re-download the app file.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 1 day
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1 day
  • Registratons Cost:£0

Mobile Device Management (MDM)

Apps can be distributed to your employees via an MDM solution. This often takes the format of an internal app store or automatic installation of apps on company owned devices. Depending on the configuration of your MDM you can distribute to corporate or personal mobile devices belonging to employees or members of your organisation.

Apps distributed in this manner can also be distributed in parallel via Enterprise Download or the public App Store. It is common for enterprises to distribute apps via MDM to users with corporate mobile devices and via Enterprise Download to those using personal devices.

Unless the app is being distributed via the Play Store in parallel as MDM there is no registration or signing process required.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 1 day
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1 day
  • Registrations Cost:  £0

Play Store

User downloads the app via the Play Store on their device. They can search for the app or be sent a link to it.  Employees and external stakeholders can both download the app on either corporate or personally owned devices.

To distribute apps in this manner requires your organisation to be registered on the Google Play Developer Console. Registration take 1 day.

When you publish an app there is an approval process which takes up to 1 day.

  • Timeline to distribute first app: 2 days
  • Timeline for subsequent apps: 1 day
  • Registrations Cost: $25 one off for Google Registration