Hey there and welcome to BuildFire, the world’s leading app development platform powering over 10,000 mobile apps for thousands of small businesses and Fortune 500 companies.
To help you get started, I’ll personally take you through the fundamentals of everything you need to know from how to build your app, to how to publish it, to how to keep your audience engaged once it’s live.
Stick with me through this series and I guarantee by the end of it, you’ll be a pro.
So, What is BuildFire?
What sets BuildFire apart is our robust yet easy-to-use app building platform that allows you to build a polished mobile app in a matter of hours, yet still have the ability to build powerful custom functionality for your app if you need it.
That means you’re never going to be boxed in and limited with your functionality.
Whether your app is simple or complex, BuildFire’s a platform you can grow and scale with no matter what your needs are.
Think of it this way. We’ve built our platform to cover the majority of the features your app already needs from day 1.
For example, you’ll definitely need Push Notifications, user login, your information, media content, and cross platform support for both iOS and Android.
These are all fundamental features that are already built into the system.
Now you might be thinking, “But wait!? What if I need something completely unique that you don’t already have?”
Awesome! BuildFire was built for that very reason.
If you need something unique, these features can simply be built on top of our existing functionality, rather than having to build everything from scratch saving unnecessary development hours and getting your app to market faster than you could otherwise.
So if you need a feature that you can’t find, click here to fill out our Pro Services contact form and we’d be happy to discuss how we can build something great together.
Additionally, if you’re a developer, you can even create your own marketplace features (also known as plugins) and sell them to our worldwide customer base. Click here to learn more about our developer program.
Now… let’s jump in and explore the BuildFire platform.
First, let’s talk about the Control Panel because it’s primarily what you’ll use when you’re building and managing your app.
What is the Control Panel?
The Control Panel is where you’ll manage all of your app’s content and features.
The first thing we hope you notice is how easy it is to use.
There are three main components of the control panel:
- The menu is what you’ll see on the left hand side and is primarily how you access the system’s core features.
- The content editor is what you’ll see in the middle and is what you’ll use to edit your app’s content.
- And the emulator is what you’ll see on the right hand side. This will let you navigate to different Marketplace features you’ve added to your app by simply navigation throughout your app and will also give you a real time preview of what your app will look like as you make changes to its content and design.
When you first created an account, you either started with a template or you had our awesome Pro Services team design and construct your app for you.
If you’re building the app yourself, the templates should provide you with an awesome starting point so that you can simply swap it out with your content and you’re app will be ready to launch.
If you need to create a new app at any point, simply go to the dropdown with your app name and click “Create New App”.
If you’d like for our Pro Services team to either design and create the structure for your app or build completely custom features for it, click here to get in touch with them.
Core Features vs. Marketplace Features (aka Plugins)
Within the control panel, and as we go through these lessons, you’ll experience two different types of features. Core features and Marketplace features.
Core Features are features that either are typically applicable to your app as a whole and are built right into it, such as:
- User Profiles
- The Login Screen
- The Side Menu
- And more...
Or are feature that are built into the system as a whole, such as:
- Design Components
- The Media Library
- Push Notifications
- User Management
- and more...
Please Note: Some advanced core features may require a subscription for you to unlock them.
Marketplace Features (also sometimes known as plugins) can be thought of as features that you can add to your app. These features typically contain a page or pages and usually revolve around a specific type of functionality.
Some examples of Marketplace features include:
- People Directory
- And more...
The vast majority of Marketplace features allow you to create multiple instances.
So, for example, if you have more than one calendar, you can create multiple Event instances.
If you have multiple music albums or lecture collections, you can create multiple Media Center Manual instances.
If you have different categories for your blog, you can create multiple Media Center RSS instances.
Existing feature instances can be accessed and edited by either clicking on them in the emulator on the right hand side or going to Features >> My Features and then clicking on it.
You can create new Marketplace Feature instances by going to Features >> Marketplace
How to Preview Your App
Previewing your app through our dashboard is pretty awesome. As I said, you can make changes to the editor and then see your app update in real time on the emulator.
However, it’s just not quite the same experience as checking out your app on the device it’s meant for — your phone!
The best option for previewing your app on a device is using our previewer app.
We’ve created a dedicated article on how to install it and access your app here.
Now that you know what BuildFire is, what the control panel is, and what the difference between core and marketplace features is, and how to preview your app, in the next lesson we’ll explore the common system components that will help streamline your experience.
I’ll see you there!
Let’s build something great together.