RTL News Cluster
Following the news as it unfolds from minute to minute
Apps for RTL News
The renowned news provider RTL News delivers news as it is happening. RTL uses several channels to present these news reports: via television, via website, and via apps, such as RTL News, RTLZ, RTL Boulevard, Bright and VTBL. Egeniq was asked to design these apps, merging a collection of successful RTL-brands together in one recognisable format.
Optimising the apps’ development time
The maintenance of apps can be costly, especially if you use them for several brands, like RTL does. Some of our clients have opted for hybrid technology to reduce costs. As regards speed and user-friendliness, however, RTL did not want to make any concessions. So, Egeniq was challenged to design a method whereby all Android and iOS apps can be updated and maintained efficiently by one system.
To realise this objective, Egeniq developed a Shared Codebase. This is a native code for both iOS and Android that can be shared among the different brands. The codebase contains all components required to communicate with the back-end CMS and the apps’ shared functionality. However, given that each brand has its own look and feel, we made sure that in terms of behaviour and brand style, each individual app can still be adjusted separately.
A side advantage is that the Shared Codebase Unit Tests can be conducted simultaneously for all apps. This means that in case of a problem, all apps can be treated with the same remedy, providing each of them with instant protection. In this way, future complications are being reduced.
Developing apps always brings certain challenges, for example with respect to their memory usage. Since apps contain enormous amounts of images, we had to find a balance between a dynamic layout and the degree of memory use. Obviously, you want an attractively looking app, but it should not take too long to upload it!
That’s why we made use of optimised algorithms. The algorithms load and delete dynamic content, again remove this content from the tablet’s memory, and load particular content in advance. As a result, the loading process is pleasant and smooth, both for the iPad and for the Android-devices. In fact, the loading time is hardly noticeable for the end-user.
Another challenge was the performance of push notifications. RTL News operates in a landscape where multiple news providers are active. The one who comes first with breaking news captures the larger part of the visitors. That’s why RTL was keen to keep the time span from the creation of a breaking news alert to its reception as short as possible: within minutes millions of devices have to be reached. Most standard tools are not capable of meeting this performance prerequisite, and instead disperse the broadcast over a longer time period. To solve this issue, we developed a special high-volume push notification server with as its main task to reach all users of the RTL News app as quickly as possible.
In realising the apps for RTL News, Egeniq teamed up with a number of partners. Ibuildings, for example, developed the apps’ CMS, and several designers collaborated in creating their layout. Over the course of time, we have cooperated with Hike One, Fabrique and RTL’s own internal design department. Egeniq’s smart crew built the iPad-, iPhone- and Android-apps plus a number of background APIs. This fruitful cooperation with our partners enabled us to make a collection of highly stable and great-looking apps for RTL News.