Build overview

Introduction

Build helps our Clients bridging the app gap. If you already have a browser experience, we help you to easily adapt and deploy new channels and reach new audiences!

Requirements

If you are interested in our product. You must have a website to encapsulate! That is it.

As BUILD leverages website assets, if you chose to enable some key features relying on website information. It is possible to ensure flawless interactions between the mobile app and the website thanks to our Web Library.
The Web Library is an option but can bring you extended benefits such as increased stability and a range of new features…

Build apps: hybrid or native?

From a technical point of view, those apps are leveraging the best of every world.

Apps built thanks to Build are native mobile apps, as they are using Swift on iOS and Kotlin on Android, which leverage the Build mobile framework.

They are also hybrid apps, in the sense that even if they are developed using the official native development SDKs provided by Apple and Google, they also leverage web technologies to display some or all of their contents.

The Build mobile framework is a library used by the mobile app to manage the user interface, leverage the web assets and trigger native, built-in, features.

Web pages are rendered using the WebKit engine provided by the OS, over which several layers are added to interact with the pages and optimize their performance.
This means that any feature working in the mobile device’s browser will work, out of the box, in the generated app.

App Architecture

Below you will find a quick overview of our Build apps architecture. There are 3 main components to acknowledge:

  • SDK & Generated code = App’s foundation
    • Develops out-of-the-box Features
    • Core Android Studio & Xcode used to generate a Build App 
  • Custom code (optional)
    • Develops non out-of-the-box features
    • The amount of custom code depends on the features requested by the customer
  • Configuration file
    • Defines key interactions between the App and web assets
    • Cloud hosted, remotely updated on the edge

SDK & Generated code

The SDK part of the app is the Build framework itself, which also includes our GROW product capabilities.

The SDK is:

  • building the UI of the app,
  • rendering web pages
  • controlling its built-in native features.

The Build app generated code is the code generated from our Build App Studio product which is setting the mobile app basis. It comes with the boilerplate necessary to set up SDKs, handle push notifications, universal links, and more. Specific features generated code are added through plugins of out-of-the-box features, others will be added through Custom code.

Custom code

The custom code component is limited in the app. What makes the app unique is mostly defined in the configuration file and in the generated code and associated plugins. But in some cases, custom code will be needed if a Client’s requirement is not supported by our App Studio out-of-the-box features.

Custom code application can be as broad as its name suggest:

  • Third-party integration
  • Web page loading,
  • Script injection,
  • Navigation improvements,
  • Native features not supported in the App Studio,
  • Native screens not supported in the App Studio,
  • Sky is the limit.

Configuration file

The configuration file is the central piece of the app. It defines its structure:

  • login detection and behaviour,
  • navigation,
  • environments – app domain management,
  • web assets management – hide and modify web assets in all the app or specific parts of the navigation,
  • external link management – how and where links should be opened,
  • and much more…

A configuration file has a .json format and is hosted online. It allows remote updates, even after it has been published.

The file is versioned, and if configured to do so, the app will check online, upon app start if a newer version. This allows to remotely add / remove entire sections or native features, and also to fix potential issues on web pages by editing injected scripts or adding new ones.

Please note most of our Clients are comfortable letting their configuration file online as it allows more flexibility for app updates.
If due to security constraints you would like your app’s configuration file to be hosted locally, it is feasible but you will not benefit from our remote update capabilities.

Distribution of the app

Our team are trained to answer your needs whether you are looking to update/replace an existing mobile app or launch a new app with Build.

Build apps, similarly to native apps, can be distributed both on public and private app stores going through App Stores reviews. Our apps can be submitted on any store for Android and iOS apps at the moment (Apple Store, Google Play, Amazon, Galaxy Store, Huawei App Gallery…)

The app can be packaged into an IPA on iOS or an APK or AAB on Android, and then published.