With the exponential growth and sophistication of mobile devices, the demand has sparked the its own content management category.
Mobile content management systems deal with content that is destined for mobile devices. Now, there’s a number of ways to accomplish that.
Three predominant mechanisms would be: 1. To have a website that can simply be accessed by the mobile device’s browser, 2. You might have a native mobile application, and 3. You can have an e-book. So let’s take a look at each one of those.
Mobile Accessible Website
Now, if you’ve got a website and you want to be able to distribute the information through normal computers, but you also as an add-on want mobile users to access the content as well, that makes a lot of sense. The difficulty is that the mobile devices’ screens are small, so you will want to format the content for the smaller screen. There’s many techniques of doing that, which are quite simple. If on the other hand, you need more than just the displaying of information, you need to provide functionality to the users, you may need a mobile application.
When you look at mobile applications, there, again, are two different mechanisms to accomplish that. First and foremost, you can use whatever native programming language, so Objective-C for the Apple mobile devices, the iPhones, the iPads, or Java for Android. Going down that road, you need to have resources that are competent with being able to program in those particular languages.
Another approach would be to take the content in an HTML format, say HTML5, which, you know, is quite rich in its capabilities, and then, take a wrapper in the native language, which contains a browser to be able to display that. This is a technique, which is being used more and more, particularly in scenarios where users want to go out to more than one type of mobile platform. If you wanted to have Android and iPhone, you would, without HTML5, have to program in Objective-C or Java, so you’re doubling the amount of effort to get out to those devices. But if you develop in an HTML5, with a native wrapper around it with a browser, you can actually decrease the amount of effort significantly.
Now there are some downsides to that, there are only a limited number of things that you can do with a wrapper around HTML5 that you would normally be able to do within the native programming languages, so you have to look at what it is you want to be able to do and which is most appropriate for you.
The third mechanism, which is often overlooked, is the use of e-books. Now there are two main options here as well. First of all, there’s EPUB, which is a standard for e-books. But if you’re going to be heavily relying on either iPhone or iPad, you might want to take a look at iBooks Author. It is an extremely easy-to-use interface for developing very rich featured set books. It’s free from iTunes as well, and it can do some pretty amazing things. It’s only for iBooks on iPhones and iPads, so it may or may not be applicable to you, but it’s definitely worth looking at.
One main consideration is how things tie back into content management systems. In many circumstances, you need to have a centralized way of managing that information, particularly if you are going out to multiple devices. So whatever your mobile content management strategy, you should have an idea of how content can be maintained centrally and then pushed out to your mobile devices. That may very well be some sort of application update, or it might be through updating information on a web server. That depends on the type of content, and the type of features that you’re looking for implementing in your mobile device.