Happy Veterans Day!
I'm creating this discussion to ask for your expertise/experiences in creating mobile apps for a Ning Community. My Design Firm is about to embark on building our first Mobile App for a Ning Community. I want to make sure we build the app using the best mobile app development tool or service, and that we use a tool/service that's the most cost efficient for development and ongoing-costs .
We're looking at Shoutem's new application builder and Mobile Roadie. We would love to hear about your experiences, what you used to build your mobile app, what your mobile app offers, and your successes.
Thank you in advance for sharing your experiences. I would be extremely grateful for any guidance on this.
Thanks again, and really looking forward to some awesome feedback.
A really interesting topic, Jen!
A mobile app for our Ning network is something we would also badly need.
However, as I understood it, you are currently strongly constrained by the limited capabilities of the Ning API.
Quoting from Ning documentation:
What you can doYou can CREATE, READ, UPDATE, and DELETE content for the following features:
In addition to the interacting with specific features on a site, you can:
- Blog Posts
- View profile information
- Update your status message
- Retrieve a list of Ning Networks you are a member of
- View the latest activity
What you cannot doCurrently, you cannot access the following features:
Additionally you cannot:
- Update your profile information
- Create Ning Networks
- Join Ning Networks
Unfortunately, many interesting things are under the What you cannot do heading and there seem to be no plans for future extensions.
I look forward to the opinion of other NCs here.
Thanks for the information, very helpful. I don't think I've read this is a while, and really didn't absorb it well. The way you shared it here really helps.
Yes, this is interesting. I was not aware of any of this. Are you sure about this information? @Franco
It just hit me after creating the first mobile app. Isn't your list for the /m option?
I obtained that info by navigating to the developer network here: http://developer.ning.com/
Then I chose the MOBILE APPS item (see picture below) that brings you here: http://developer.ning.com/docs/ningapi/1.0/index.html
So I was drawn into thinking that you could develop your Apps only based on the Ning API.
@Jen: do you mean that in your newly created App you can also work with Groups, Forum, Events etc.?
That would be great! Would you mind providing a couple of screenshots that show how it looks like?
Perhaps partners in the Ning Everywhere program have different and more powerful APIs that that provided to NCs...
So far I haven't seen any member interaction type activity like adding comments, blog posts, etc... But to contradict what I just wrote in another reply (thinking as I type) - - the uploading of photos, videos MUST be there. Otherwise why the synchronization? See what I mean? So maybe signed-in members have these type features, and visitors see the content. I'm just not sure yet.
You can create a trial account on ShoutEm and play around with this too. You do not need to provide any payment information for the trial.
Sorry Franco, you go this wrong. I have mobile Roadie and you can not comment to your ning page from the app. Eventhough they advertise a full partnership and link or "Sync" there is none. Its a one way feed to the app from site. thats it.
Me too kre3p. But I think the attraction to the mobile app way is to offer the app in the App Stores, therefore the opportunity to spread the word even more.
Fully agree and support this.
I hope Ning is listening to us.
Okay everyone, I just completed the creation of my first mobile app using ShoutEm. There are some concerns. Instead of rewriting the email I just sent to my Client, I'll post parts of the email below. You'll get the drift.
All-in-all, very easy to setup the app. You will need special images for: Screen Image behind icons, Screen Image on Load, small banner logo, square logo, etc...this was easy for me, but could be challenging if you don't design your own logos and graphic design.
How to Create App - the short list:
To access ShoutEm and receive some type of partnership credit from Ning Everywhere, make sure you access the ShoutEm link via your Ning Network. Go to My Network/Tools/Mobile App. For Shoutem, just click on "Learn More".
Create an account on ShoutEm.
Follow the screen instructions. You create the app, add all your special images, your app name, tagline, description (all seen in mobile app stores) - - under the Content Tab add your site RSS feeds for photos, videos, blogs, etc...
Now for the kicker, if you choose to add the Ning Plugin under CMS Tab, the monthly subscription goes from $29.90 to $49.90. I was surprised at how this was done, kinda misleading. The Ning Plugin is what syncs the app with your Network - - a real mobile app and not just RSS feeds. But, I still have a lot to learn here. BTW, I loved how the Ning Plugin live test looked - - awesomesauce for sure.
Email excerpts I just wrote to my Client - he has become a friend and valued Client, so I don't hold back =)
Ah Man, this is great, yet parts of this are misleading - - keep reading. I just spent about 4-5 hours watching shoutem's video, reading all about this to get a better idea of what it's all about, and preparing your special images from your existing look/feel. I created all the special sized images for the app, started installing RSS feeds, etc... It's very cool. But here's the part that stinks. Once I chose the Ning plugin under CMS Plugins Tab to pull in the Ning data with real synching (beautiful feature), created an API key from your Ning Network, blah, blah, blah, it changed the plan from 29.90 to 49.90. In other words, appears if you use the Ning plugin you are charged the 49.90. And the Ning plugin is what makes it really cool.
You might can use the mobile app without the plugin, by just creating an app with RSS Feeds. You will find that I have already added a lot of RSS Feeds under the Content tab like photos, videos, etc... from your Ning site. But, without the Ning plugin I don't think the app will technically be part of your Network, from what I can understand. But the question is: would the app work? At least you would have your RSS links on the app. But who pays for the bandwidth? This part is confusing. I strongly suggest just calling ShoutEm to clear up this part. Summary: Does the app work without the Ning Plugin? And what exactly would it do without the Ning Plugin?
If you look at your API Setup I created on your Ning site, you will see that I set it to 0-10000 requests - $0, and checked the box for: Prevent additional API requests.
To access go to: My Network/Tools/Ning API
Then, to see the correlating information on the Shoutem site, sign-in , click on My Applications/App Name/CMS Plugins. Be sure not to deactivate the Ning Plugin, just don't publish the app from Shoutem. If you deactivate the Ning Plugin on Shoutem, we have to re-enter the API keys. And we may have to, to see how this works without the CMS Plugin part. The keys are under the Ning API on your Ning Site.
And that ends the important parts of the email.
Hope this gives insight to others, and maybe gain some experience stories from existing mobile app publishers on Ning.
Yes, this is very helpfull.