Thursday, August 30, 2012

Technical Approach

As we had experience with iOS development, this was the approach that was taken during our development. We also know that the specific techniques we used would work equally well with other popular smartphone environments such as Android.

The access 'cards' were downloaded from the electronic display controller via a standard internet connection (on site there is a good quality WiFi connection), in PDF format. The use of PDF allows, potentially, for rich visual content but also for hyperlinks, etc. without the manifest problems of multi-part web content.

The specific access controls used for the target resources is a relatively simple proxy arrangement (as is increasingly often the case at university libraries), but the use of appropriate URLs allows for the direct access to individual journals or conference series, rather than for the 'home page' of a larger resource. This brought the benefit of taking the user directly to specific content, and avoiding navigation or search activity. Furthermore, the app could be configured with the user's account name and password, allowing for those to be automatically provided to the access control proxy without having to type (as text entry is laborious on a smartphone).

The electronic display simply carouselled through a series of web pages that were specifically designed for the screen proportions of the device. For our protoype, this was an Apple iMac (simplifying code development and allowing some code-sharing with the mobile app). The pages were simply kept on a local folder and read in (alphanumeric) order. Each page had a corresponding PDF, for downloading to mobile devices as required.

1 comment:

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