Nov 3 2010
Another day, another amazing web application. It’s true we tend to get overly excited every time a new web app comes along. There’s no more inspiring event in the dull drab world of business than when a company launches their innovative product. And today, inspiration is here. Innovation, we have.
Smart phones and their apps have taken the otherwise monotone world of business by storm. People love their apps. Being able to check the weather, listen to music, get directions, read the news, find restaurants, and anything else, gives people more information at their fingertips than ever before. But what of the app providers? Large companies hire teams of designers and developers to build them. Smaller companies may or may not get around to making their content accessible from mobile devices. But that’s all about to change.
buzztouch, (lowercase ‘b’), is a new way to create custom mobile applications. It’s a free content management system for the iPhone and Droid. They provide a tool that allows you to quickly and readily create custom mobile applications. No coding is required.
The way buzztouch works is by letting you configure all the aspects of your mobile application with their online app building control panel. Once it’s built you can download the source code, compile it, and post it online for your users or customers. The entire app is built within buzztouch’s simple interface.
Each application has core settings including app title, icon, image, and info. The icon is what will be displayed along with the well known icons strewn across iPhones screens everywhere. The image is what will be displayed at the top of the screen once the app is opened. Info is the app description. Once those are set the fun begins. Here you can add any number of the following growing list of features for your app.
- Call Us- Allows users to tap-to-call.
- Email Us
- Location Maps- This is an interactive map where one or more locations can be highlighted. Such as your business or more likely, your favorite place to eat.
- YouTube Video
- Streaming Video- These are for direct links to videos such as .MOV or M-PEG.
- Streaming Audio- These are for direct links to MP3s.
- Single Image
- Fun Quiz- Create a quiz! These can be made within buzztouch’s online interface.
- RSS Reader
- Share Via Email
- Share on Facebook
- Share on Twitter
- Custom URL (web-page)
- Custom Text
- Custom HTML
- Word Document Viewer
- Excel Spreadsheet Viewer
- Pdf Document Viewer
- Sub-Menu- This is a menu label which can have any number of the above menus as sub menu options. It allows for deeper navigation.
As with all content management systems some limitations are inherent. The above options don’t accommodate for integrating with your web store or searching your collection of marbles or action figures. The main options are display oriented. Interaction currently consists of email, phone, sharing, and custom quizzes.
Once the application is configured the next steps are to download the source code, compile it, and upload it to the appropriate location. They provide two sets of code, one for apple (iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch running iOS 4), one for Droid (version v1.6 and up). The reason the service doesn’t compile the code for you is they believe it’s in the best interest for people to take complete control of their application in iTunes and the Android Market. Also, neither Google nor Apple offer an API for application submission. Thus necessitating submission to be done manually.
One of the best things about buzztouch is that’s the extent of it. Building applications can be completed in minutes. After an hour or two the whole thing can be fine tuned and ready to go. On top of that you don’t have to recompile the application every time you make a change. If you make modifications to the menu options they will be propagated out to your faithful users automatically. Only changes to the app’s icon requires recompiling and uploading the new version.
buzztouch threw in one other feature for some extra whizbang. Maps. From the control panel you can see all the locations of the users who currently have your app downloaded. From the main page there’s a map that shows all the apps from buzztouch as a whole that have been downloaded. These can be sorted by most recent so it’s more legible and relevant. It’s a fun way to gauge the success of your creation and see the global distribution of buzztouch created mobile apps.
buzztouch is a dynamic and growing tool for mobile developers. Their mobile content management system has the potential to save a lot of development time. Every once in a while we get to review a truly ground breaking web application. buzztouch is that app.