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Mobile development for IBM Content Navigator

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Mobile development for IBM Content Navigator




Tomas Barina is an ECM Consultant with IBM Software Group in Czech Republic. He has more than 10 years of experience in content management field. For the last eight years, Tomas focuses primarily on design and delivery of FileNet based solutions. His areas of expertise include solution design, ECM, and mobile development. Tomas holds a Masters Degree in Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence from Czech Technical University.


IBM Content Navigator (ICN) has become the main UI of IBM ECM product and solution portfolio and increasingly, larger number of products and custom applications are adopting its unified framework for UI development. ECM solutions are now becoming unified by its look and behavior.  But can your solution handle mobile platform? Are people asking you about mobile support for your ECM solutions? Do you want to extend your ECM solution to mobile users yet you are not sure about options you have? You come to the right place. I will try to answer some of your questions.


Mobile development options

You probably have heard about the native client for iOS that you can download from AppStore and use with ICN. This client allows you to quickly provide core ECM functionality to your users. However, it is obvious you cannot customize the UI appearance with it. But don’t forget, it still uses ICN backend, so you can modify the data that the client consumes or produces by using request/response filters or you can add your own mobile features where you can open your custom applications directly from within the client. And why not use UI developed in ICN framework?


Have you noticed how many websites are multi-channel these days, meaning adapting to the client and resolution the visitors use? When developing your ICN plugins, keep multi-channel in mind and decide about data representation directly for the device or to optimize your layout on the fly.


Or you can just start using Dojo Mobile with ICN JavaScript Model API and prepare special application just for your mobile platform. But guess what? You don’t need to start from scratch. ICN ships with IBM Worklight sample that you can customize for your needs. You will be surprised how many features are already there and how comprehensive it is!


IBM Worklight sample

What exactly is this IBM Worklight? IBM Worklight helps you extend your business to mobile devices. It’s an IDE, and it’s also a runtime framework you can use for your mobile applications development.


ICN ships with IBM Worklight Consumer Edition license which makes it possible to use IBM Worklight server components to extend your applications, for example various adapters, push notifications, etc.


For ICN sample that ships with ICN, however, you do not need any additional runtime infrastructure. Running ICN server is enough.

imageFigure 1- Sample UI


You can pack the sample as a hybrid application that can be deployed directly to mobile device. In this case you would use Apache Cordova library as native shell for your web application.  This allows you to access native device API using JavaScript.


Another option is to pack the whole sample as an ICN plugin. Then you don’t have to install anything on the device. Of course, you will not be able to access native device APIs.


Sample customization

Ok, that’s fine. So now how to start? With so many frameworks and technologies, wouldn’t it be difficult to get going? Not at all.  Let’s take a look at the architecture of the sample. It uses ICN JavaScript Model API you might be familiar with from standard web development and just adds Dojo Mobile with MVC pattern.


Figure 2-Sample architecture


In the IBM Content Navigator Redbooks publication, we provide a guided tour showing how to add a new work feature to this sample and how to display a list of work items and their parameters.  There’s a chapter there that helps you understand how the sample works and how to customize it for your specific needs.


Take a look at our video (coming soon) that demonstrates the customized sample and check out the IBM Redbooks publication for more details.



Additional references

For IBM Content Navigator related blog posts, see:

For more information on IBM Content Navigator, see IBM Redbooks publication:



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