Our Customer (one of the biggest creators and distributors of educational materials in a Central European country) had an idea to create around 6 hundreds of textbooks (300 for iPhone and 300 for Android) as standalone mobile applications from his digital materials (PDF files) and develop “iOS/Android applications store” to sell these textbooks.
Providing the possibility to create hundreds of textbooks as mobile applications as soon as possible and sell them via iOS/Android application stores.
To simplify the development process, decrease certain risks in estimation and find the optimal way we have divided the development process into three stages:
- First stage research. It was clear for us that manually creating hundreds of mobile applications from PDF files will take a lot of time. So in order to decrease project budget we agreed with customer to develop a special framework for iOS and Android platforms, which will automate converting PDF files into mobile application. Several developers started looking for the most appropriate PDF viewer and then tried to develop the initial mockup to compare quality of presenting the learning data - texts, formulas, live links inside the text, video tutorials + multimedia.
- Second stage - a fully functional and stable prototype (based on the chosen PDF viewer) which would be used as a single framework for each platform to automate the process of creating hundreds of standalone mobile applications.
- Third stage - developing fully functional “iOS/Android applications” and server side for them. The apps have a list of proposed textbooks, a user profile with a list of purchased textbooks and license terms for them.
Another important part of the project was providing security of using purchased textbooks. It was connected with the ability to protect all the textbooks purchased by a school or specific students from unauthorized access by third parties and using products by passing license (for example using single license for group of students and etc.). To solve this issue, project team developed special server method for sending unique device ID to the applications and creating and providing special unique ID of textbook for this device.
After passing all the stages our customer got fully working software set consisting of:
- Textbook creation framework for iOS and Android
- iOS/Android store application to sell those textbooks
We have tested our framework on dozens of PDFs. On average, t reduced the time needed to create one textbook mobile application by 20 hours. Considering the customer has 300 PDFs we helped them to go to market faster and saved them a lot of money: around 12,000 hours for converting PDFs (6,000 hours(300*20) for each platform) into mobile applications.
- Technologies and platforms: Native iOS, Android development, PHP, MySQL
- Effort: 4 man-months