Steven Wake

Kyan intranet gets an iPhone app makeover

The Kyan office has more than it’s fair share of Apple phone users (a company iPhone is one of the perks of working here) — On that basis it made sense to create a version of our homegrown intranet that works on the iPhone when our folk are away from the office. Duties fell to Phil and myself to bring this to fruition.

As a starting point we decided to develop a straightforward application that would group our clients and employees into lists and provide a instant dialer (An obvious function for a mobile phone really!). The plan is add functionality to the app to take advantage of the iPhone’s cool features as time and client work allows… Ideas include Google map integration using Apple’s locations services, client call requests using the iPhone’s notifications service and Google calendar integration.

Our intranet is built in Ruby on Rails using the RESTful paradim. This was really useful to kickstart the project as building a web service in Rails from the existing MVC infrastructure is a really easy. The app operates offline as well as online by caching the data in a local database — The app automatically updates itself when connected to the Kyan office network. This offers greater access speeds and means that the potential security issues about accessing our intranet database remotely without a secure socket layer are not a worry.

Initially we used a library called ObjectiveResource to manage the service / model / database interactions (ObjectiveResource attempts to port Rails’ implementation of ActiveRecord into Objective-C). But we quickly found this didn’t suit our style of development and had a detrimental effect on what we were trying to achieve. We ended up writing our own classes that were lighter weight, stripping away some of the unnecessary functionality offered by ObjectiveResource — Resulting in a leaner, meaner application.

An important tip for iPhone developers: I highly recommend strict use of your preferred SCM software while developing iPhone apps — Xcode exposes files to you the developer that manage the complex device provisioning procedure. These files are very delicate and do not take kindly to be fiddled with, so handle them with care and make sure you commit your work regularly!

We have some interesting ideas bubbling under from clients regarding iPhone projects. I can’t really discuss the detail of at present, but they integrate closely with some of the larger projects we’ve worked on recently, bringing key features of those web applications to the iPhone in an accessible way.

We’re currently on the look out for some more iPhone application projects — So if you’ve got an idea that you’d like some help with we would love to hear from you.

Tags: services, intranet, iphone

See more posts

Comments: 1

Jon Spary
commented on

Dear Kyan,

I've an original app I'd like to develop but unsure where to start; would be interested in talking further!

Best,

Jon

Add a comment

Note: comments are moderated before publication.

Most Popular

Now residing at 171 High Street, Guildford

Peter Roome

NEW ADDRESS: Kyanmedia, Guildford, 171 High Street, Guildford, Surrey, GU1 3AJ Yes thats right, we have made the big move, a week earlier than the scheduled 24th July. The impromptu decision was made mid morning Friday (17th July, 2009) after discovering, Smithbrook was…

Cooliris and the 3D wall.

Paul Sturgess

Cooliris (formerly known as PicLens) is described by it’s developers as a “lightening fast ‘3D wall’ that lets you browse thousands of images, videos and more with ease.” Cooliris is installed as a browser add-on for Firefox, Safari or Internet Expl…

Easy image rollovers

Robin Whittleton

Recently themeforest.net ran a quick tutorial on how to achieve an image slide effect similar to our homepage. I thought I’d go into some more detail about the design decisions we made.

Kyan Jukebox Festive 50 2008

Gavin Shinfield

Alright pop pickers? Not ’arf! Well, it’s that time of year again, best of 2008 lists abound so I thought I’d put together some of the top tracks to be rocking the Kyan jukebox from this year’s releases and now that Saint John no longer graces our airwave…

Google+