Oxford Business Group - Delivering great things in one simple, lightweight design

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After a successful website re-launch in October 2014, Oxford Business Group (OBG) planned to extend their digital presence with the introduction of an iPad app. The application Hydrant developed is designed to showcase and provide access to OBG’s broad range of economic insights - on the move, wherever you may be.

The Challenge

he Oxford Business Group website had undergone a successful relaunch in October 2014. The site features a range of in-depth investment and economic reports on more than 30 countries, with over 10,000 articles available online.

Oxford Business Group
Oxford Business Group

The iPad app needed to provide access to this content for users both online and offline. While much of OBG’s content is provided free of charge, their recent reports are paid-for content - so the app needed to integrate with their current access control platform to allow users on the app to access content they had already purchased, as well as purchasing new content.

Oxford Business Group are regularly adding to their body of economic research, so the app couldn’t be static and needed to integrate with their website to pick up the latest content. An API was required which would allow the iPad app to receive updates from their Drupal site to capture new and updated content as well as to manage content access rules.

The Results

The development of the API was completed to schedule, and has been successfully integrated with the iPad app. The iPad app is now live in the Apple App Store and contains up-to-the-minute information thanks to the close integration with the website information. Initial feedback on the app has been positive both from OBG’s customers and field teams alike.

The Solution 

Hydrant developed a light, high-performance API using the Symfony framework components that allows the iPad app to integrate with their Drupal website in real-time.

The API layer manages content synchronisation, authentication, and purchase history management - keeping users content libraries updated across the two platforms. We also implemented a set of administrative tools within the Drupal website to control the behaviour of the app, and manage app-specific content - information which is exposed to the iPad app via the API layer.

We worked with Sync Interactive who developed the app frontend to determine how the synchronisation processes could be managed efficiently, implementing cache strategies for maximum performance. We were also able to extend the API integration during the build to allow additional features such as purchasing and additional advertising to be added to the application.