Drive Thru

We love when clients let us show off work we've done for them. We especially love when we use some cool technology.

The Business

Pure Genius Productions came to us recently with an idea to turn their printed fast food guide into mobile app form. The guide lists a bunch of common fast food franchises and tells you what combos are the healthiest options - a great tool for the center console of a health-conscious driver

The Pitch

Due to their business and marketing needs, we originally pitched the idea of making an HTML5 app using jQuery Mobile and then compiling it for both Android and iOS using Phonegap. The client loved this solution so we proceeded to gather artwork and all the data that's included in the printed guides. We put together the menu system, the detail views, and a photo gallery. But when it came time to actually compile the app using Phonegap we ran into a snag.

The Problem

It worked flawlessly in the Android browser and in Mobile Safari when viewed from a web server, but when it was compiled and installed on the device the screens would flash in and out and the transitions were all choppy. This was very strange behavior. We researched the problem and found that lots of people were having the exact same problem. We tried a litany of solutions, changing jQuery Mobile versions, implementing strange CSS fixes that some people said worked, but in the end, we couldn't get it to work correctly on the device.

The Solution

We expended a lot of time looking for a solution and decided we needed a radical shift in how we were writing the app to get it working for the client. The technology we chose was Titanium. Basically, it allows you to create javascript-esque code that then cross-compiles into native iOS and Android applications. So now the client was going to get a lot more than originally agreed upon - we'd have a single codebase and wind up with two completely native apps (ok, ok - there are a few web views in there, but it's mostly native on both platforms).

There are definitely a few "gotchas" when building for titanium, but honestly, the biggest frustration is getting the Android emulator working on a consistent basis. I've head that Windows peeps don't have nearly the problem that us Mac folk have with the emulator, but that's a different topic for a different day. We wound up writing and testing on the iOS Simulator and then testing and tweaking for Android using the emulator and a test device.

The Results

All in all, we're really pleased with what we delivered to the client: a high-quality mobile app reproduction of their printed guides published on both the iTunes app store and the Google Play store.

Check out the app in your preferred device's store:

iOS App Store logo iTunes App Store

Google Play Store Logo Google Play Store

Drive Thru Dining Guide