The Datafree Max Publishing Platform
The Platform is designed to develop native smartphone apps that access web based content datafree and with extreme data efficiency, thereby substantially reducing the reverse bill data costs to the publisher, as well as improving speed of response time to the end-user, particularly for those on poor quality mobile networks.
The publishing platform is designed to build mobile apps that access dynamic publishing style content, for example apps for news, sports scores, magazines, information services, user generated content, discussion forums etc. Compared with typical smartphone apps that access web-based content or mobile websites, you can expect datafree Max-powered apps to use
10x less mobile data and have up to 10x faster response times.
The developed Apps use zero-rate / reverse billed mobile data costs (in supported markets). This allows publishers to make apps free of data cost for end-users by funding the mobile data usage incurred by all end-users of the app. Making apps data free for price sensitive end-users in emerging markets drives orders of magnitude higher user engagement as well as viral growth. And because apps delivered using the Datafree platform are so data efficient the cost of paying for data becomes commercially sustainable.
In simple terms the Datafree App Publishing Platform architecture is based on delivering:
- pages of content formatted using Markdown and HTML markup tags;
- via Datafree servers that optimise content to reduce data bandwidth;
- to a smartphone client app that renders content for display.
The architecture is similar to building a dedicated app around a specialist lightweight browser.
The main differences with Datafree include:
- all content pages are delivered via Datafree cloud servers where content elements are compressed and optimised for bandwidth efficiency (instead of a direct connection between the smartphone device and a website);
- the Datafree smartphone client app uses a proprietary rendering engine to display page content quickly and more efficiently.
Datafree content pages can include text, image and video content elements as well as options for user data input.
In addition, the Datafree App Publishing Platform provides many features and value:
- fast, simple, uncomplicated, easy to use app experience;
- Datafree web applications can be developed using standard web technologies and are easy to build, distribute and update with no need to continuously update existing app installs to provide new features;
- unique capability to zero-rate and reverse bill app usage - because all app data traffic is directed through fixed Datafree IP addresses and is extremely bandwidth efficient;
- the datafree Max app captures a full range of device attributes and session data provided by the operating system and exposes the information to Datafree web applications as a web API;
- HD video content plays instantly (unlike streaming) because it can be downloaded in background, taking advantage of Wi-Fi connectivity when available and/or optimal telco bandwidth availability such as late night low activity or zero-rated periods.
The three-tier technology architecture of the Datafree App Publishing Platform is represented in the following diagram and following notes:
datafree Max Client App (Native Smartphone Client)
- small download size (~5 MB);
- stable platform with infrequent upgrade required;
- decompresses and renders content;
- supports Markdown plus restricted set of HTML tags;
- captures device attributes and session activity to Session Manager;
- optimises for network connection;
- interacts with Android, e.g. notifications, share, video play etc.;
- cached content used when device is disconnected;
- application content and layout can be changed without need to download and update installed smartphone client app.
- compresses and optimizes content delivery to client;
- replaces application URLs with shortcode URLs (for efficiency);
- optimizes image delivery through Image Server;
- optimizes video delivery;
- analyses network connection, speed, quality, Wi-Fi / free / paid etc.;
- whitelist / blacklist control;
- lightweight, stateless server.
- receives and stores device and session data from client;
- exposes data with applications via API;
- captures error reports from client;
- links to Android notifications;
- captures activity and performance data across platform.
- crops and scales images;
- optimizes pixel density to best fit screen and network speed;
- converts encoding for best compression;
- upload and display low-res images first;
- caches optimized images for performance.
HTTP forwarding proxy
- channels traffic to 3rd party services, e.g. analytics tracking, through zero-rated IPs;
- modification of URLs, network traffic etc. to add device attributes;
- whitelist of destination IPs.
Datafree web applications
- web based application content;
- similar to but simpler than developing mobile websites;
- content pages provided in Markdown plus restricted set of HTML tags;
- navigation links using standard HTTP and HTTPS URLs;
- application content and layout can be changed without need to download and update installed smartphone client apps.