Matt Finucane

NewsWhip

Cross platform mobile web application.

About this project

The NewsWhip application presents a user with aggregated and categorised content from a selection of news outlets.

Work on this project started in August 2012 and it took approximately 60 days to complete.

The brief

NewsWhip is a news aggregation and analytics platform that tracks articles shared across social media platforms.

My job was to create a cross platform version of the app to be deployed to both iOS and Android devices.

The app was required to show news articles filtered by location and topic, with the ability to bookmark their favourite topics.

Project planning and development

For this project, we opted to go with the following set up:

We used three projects for this with a git submodule set up as follows:

Difficulties encountered

Out of the box, Sencha Touch was not built to handle clicking on links to an external website.

In this case, tapping on a news article would load that article inside the same web view, which would essentially take you away from the application even though it was still running.

We fixed this by intercepting all taps to external links, spawning a new web view to render them.

We needed to write custom functionality in native code to handle these for both iOS and Android projects.

Performance was also a major issue especially on Android devices (even the Samsung Galaxy S3).

Scrolling through a list of articles was very choppy and slow and the UI responsiveness was sluggish.

This was down to the fact that the Android web view did not have hardware accelleration enabled and was incredibly slow.

There was no way to overcome this at the time so we needed to rewrite the Android version from scratch natively.