Meet West Port Touch - a mobile app for our programme
We are proud to announce that the West Port Book Festival programme is now available as a mobile app. If you sport an iPhone or iPad, then click here to try it out. Save it to your homescreen, and you should find an icon featuring our ink splat.
The app lets you browse the event listings for each day. Touch any event to bring up more information about it. You can also browse a list of this year’s venues. On the detail page for each venue, you can view a mini-listing of all of the events that take place there. There’s also a map button, which will show you exactly where to find the venue. The screenshots below should give you an idea of what to expect.
This is not a traditional iPhone app – you won’t find it in the app store. It’s actually a web application, which means it will run right inside the Safari web browser. In theory, it should work on Android devices too, but we’ve found that it performs poorly there. We’re working with the developer to see if we can improve the experience for Android users. Watch this space for news on this front.
One feature that we’re really excited about is that our mobile app is designed to work offline. “A website that works offline!” you say, “How does that work?” It leverages the local storage capabilities of HTML5. Put simply, when you access our app for the first time, it saves a local copy of everything that it fetches from the web. Then, if you launch the app whilst disconnected from the internet (or in Airplane mode), it will simply read the data that it saved locally. Don’t worry, our app is has a small footprint, so you won’t notice it filling up disc space.
This is all made possible thanks to the disruptive new technologies known collectively as HTML5. You’re going to see more and more websites offering this functionality in the coming years. But we bring you an offline website today, in 2011. That’s right. Our humble little book festival now boasts a website from the future!
A big thanks to Trevor Mills
Now, our website does not run on WordPress, but that posed no problem for Mr Topquarky. He was perfectly happy to work with what we could give him. And so we collaborated. I built a small API, which serves our event and venue data in a format that The Conference App is able to consume (namely, JSON). Trevor did everything else.
If you run a festival or conference, and you want a mobile app to display your event listings, you should get in touch with Trevor. He’s a pleasure to work with, and his suite of WordPress plugins is just what you’re looking for.
Thanks also to Sencha
The Conference App would not be possible if it weren’t for Sencha Touch. This framework makes building HTML5 apps for mobile a cinch. So I’d also like to say a big thank you to the team that made it.
Posted by Drew on September 22, 2011.