Developer FAQs

Does it cost anything to develop on Buildfire?

No, you may access our SDK*** by signing up for a free developer account.***

Why not just develop a native app from scratch?

You certainly can. However, why would you want to? You have to build to two separate apps one for iOS and one for Android which will mean you will have a bigger barrier to entry, longer development cycles, higher costs and a smaller talent pool. Just like talented web developers stopped developing public facing sites, not because they are incapable but because they are better put to use focusing on core business logic. The same applies with BuildFire. We take care of the designs, layouts, logins and standard features of the app. As well as give you access to a limitless set of third party plugins while you can focus on the core business functionality unique to your company.

Another big reason to develop with Buildfire is the ongoing support burden associated with developing from scratch. Once you develop an app from scratch, you own the ongoing burden of maintenance, support, app store submissions, updates, etc. Develop on the Buildfire platform and we handle all this for you.

How much time and money can I save developing a “custom” app with Buildfire?
When the intricacies and nuances of your unique situation requires a more customized solution, this is where the power of BuildFire’s technology really shines. Custom development from scratch will generally run 18 to 25 weeks and cost anywhere from $50,000 to $1,000,000. Thereafter, you need an infrastructure to support and maintain the app. If you are considering a customized solution, consider BuildFire; the savings in time and money will be significant.
BuildFire’s “off-the-shelf” functionality and solutions are very powerful and highly flexible. You will generally be able to complete 80% to 90% of your requirements using Buildfire’s existing off-the-shelf features. The ability to combine these off-the-shelf features with custom functionality enables you to create a custom mobile app in a fraction of the time and cost of traditional development. To further facilitate your development and save added time and money, we have made all of Buildfire’s standard plug ins open source. Take what we have, improve upon it and go in any direction you like.

In addition, with BuildFire, you get a platform that is easy to update and maintain; no need for expensive IT resources. BuildFire handles all support, hosting, updates, app store submissions and management of future upgrades.

What is a Plugin and what can I do with it?

A Plugin is a encapsulated group of code that is able to integrate into your BuildFire app. Each Plugin consists of 3 major parts….. Control, Widget and Services. The Control is the part that lives in the control panel that usually administers the content and design of what will show up in the app. The Widget is the code that lives in the app. Services are the functions used by both the Control and Widget to enhance functionality like publishing data or accessing the bluetooth functionality on the device.

For example, if you were creating an inventory availability plugin. The Control would have a list of all items in inventory and their qualities editable by the app owner. The Widget would have a search feature to find items the user is interested in and provide a read only view into the inventory. The services in this case would be the DataStore where the data is saved.

Which BuildFire plugins are open source and what can I legally do with them?

All BuildFire plugins located at http://github.com/buildfire*** are open source under an MIT license. Few plugins are not as they rely on other frameworks that are not open source. With Buildfire, you are allowed to enhance and send us Pull Requests if you’d like to help contribute in the betterment of the platform. You are also allowed to Fork the code and create your own private enhancements for your own use or for resell.

If I develop a custom feature, do I then need maintain the entire app?

No, you only maintain the plugins you develop. A Buildfire subscription covers all future maintenance, app store submission, updates and customer support, etc. You focus on developing value added functionality, let Buildfire handle the rest.

What’s the difference between Buildfire’s Hybrid app development and Native app development?

Native apps are apps developed using the Native development languages and frameworks of the phone. While this gives you the most control, it is also the most expensive and time consuming. Especially, if you factor in the two teams you’ll need one for iOS and and one for Android

Buildfire’s Hybrid apps are apps built on the same native components. However, we use command and standard frameworks like HTML5, CSS3 and Javascript to unify the development of both iOS and Android platforms. This reduces to technical complexity, eliminating the need for very specialized developers that are tough to find and very expensive to retain. If you know web development, you can create custom apps with Buildfire.

So what is BuildFire.js ?

BuildFire.js is a Javascript Framework that allows you to build custom plugins on the BuildFire Platform. Using standard HTML5,CSS3, Javascript and buildfire.js you can build custom UI and logic that lives on that App and Control Panel. Buildfire.js gives you access to the app and native device functions that would otherwise be inaccessible to you.

What Frameworks can I use?

Any client-side javascript based frameworks should work just fine. BuildFire provides common frameworks out of the box like JQuery and Angular. However, you are not limited to what we provide. You can use frameworks like require.js, underscore, backbone, react.js …etc as long as you copying them into your plugin.

Can my plugin communicate with my private backend servers?

Yes. We even show you how to avoid cross domain issues when trying to access them from BuildFire. Cross domain issues are resolved either by enabling CORS on your API server or enabling jsonp communication with your servers.

How do I do QA test my plugins for all the potential devices and environments?

If you create custom functionality, Buildfire will QA test it for free.

Your development question was not answered?
Log a ticket at https://github.com/BuildFire/sdk/issues*** and we will get back to you as soon as possible.

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