WordPress as a CMS for Native Apps

We all know WordPress is rapidly becoming the dominant Content Management System for the web. Whether it’s your preferred CMS or not, if you’re in the world of web development you have almost certainly run into WordPress as a system by which non-technical folk can manage and edit the content for websites created by us technical folk. However, I’m here to tell you that once you learn the ins and outs of WordPress as an engine for content, it becomes so much more than that: it becomes a dynamic content portal that can handle just about anything.

The most interesting use we’ve found for it was with our new iOS game Letter Lasso. The game is a simple spelling game where letters fly around the screen and the user must drag them together in the correct order to “lasso” and spell the correct word.

One of the major features of the app is that when you earn enough points or pay through in-app purchase, you can get more and more word packs to learn and play with new words.

Obviously, we needed a way to add and edit word-packs and have them load into the in-app purchase system, but doing this with native code every time we wanted to add a new pack would be a ridiculous burden to put on our native coders. Instead, we built a system on WordPress where any one of us can add a new word-pack at any time and have it appear instantly in the app, since all the in-app purchase system is doing is looking to our WordPress server to see which packs we’ve added and then displaying them for the user, priced at the number of points needed for purchase specified in the WordPress admin.

Pretty neat right? Wait: there’s more.

Because WordPress supports the dynamic adding of users with custom permissions (admin, subscriber, editor, etc.), we’re now building a system on WordPress to essentially allow ANY user to create their own word-packs and share them with others.

Think about it: your daughter comes home from school with her spelling words. Her normal plan would be to write them out 10-15 times or for you to quiz her on their spelling or some other clunky, joyless system for learning. Soon, all you’ll have to do is get on your computer, sign in, and add all her words into her Letter Lasso game. Then, all she has to do is play.

Without WordPress, this would take us months to build all the connections to make that possible natively on iOS, but with WordPress, it’s going to take a week. And that’s an amazing thing.



March 4, 2013

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