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The Gloucester History Festival is a nationally renowned history festival.  It delivers a series of events throughout the city of Gloucester during the first two weeks of September.  Prior to 2017, they had only a limited web presence and so Rock Solid Knowledge were bought in to design and build a website to raise the profile of the festival.

The requirements

With only two months before tickets went on sale, we were asked to design and build a website that would provide full access to all the events and provide a simple way to book a ticket via the Gloucester City Tourist web site.

The history festival demographic is not your typical tech-savvy user.  The site had some key goals

  • Search for events
  • Provide a map for directions to all the locations
  • Provide online feedback for events
  • A mobile companion application for use during the festival
  • A simple to maintain back office for adding and managing events for use by the Gloucester History Festival staff.

Web app design & build

We had an initial meeting in June with Donna Renney, and the team and got stuck into capturing their requirements and the vision for the site.

We developed a skeleton prototype of the site in a couple of weeks. During these two weeks we had a few web meetings to share our work to-date and gain their feedback.  Once the look and feel of the site was agreed, we developed the content model.

As an Umbraco Gold Partner, the site was built using the Umbraco Content Management System (CMS).  The CMS enabled the festival staff to keep the site up to date, manage all the details of the events and publish feedback from attendees.

Mobile application

The festival has over 100 locations all over the city. Making sure delegates get to their chosen events on time was one of the key goals for the mobile application.

Using the same content managed events that drive the website,  a mobile application was developed running on both the iOS and Android platforms.  Festival-goers can now get the following directly from their phone

  • Notifications of upcoming events
  • Directions to their booked events
  • Provide feedback on completed events

Getting feedback is very important to the organisers. The mobile phone application automatically prompts for feedback if the attendee is at the event by using the event feed/time and location. 

All this was made possible without the need to re-enter the data into the mobile application.  All updates made to the back office are synchronised with the mobile device, keeping attendees up to date.

Content managed apps

Be it web or mobile application, we put customer maintained content at the centre of the application.

We empower you to evolve your content whenever the need arises, like sharing new and exciting news with your customers.

Content-managed mobile applications, allow the application to receive updates without the overhead of redeploying to the store, forcing your users to upgrade.  This keeps them current with the latest information with zero friction.

All our content-driven applications come with a well organised back office experience, customised to your content needs. This provides an environment, you will quickly become familiar with, to maintain your content.

Web development

For nearly eight years we've been building single page web applications (SPA), well before the modern frameworks existed.

During this time we have worked with many of the emerging frameworks (such as Knockout, React, Redux and Angular) giving us a wealth of experience in how best to build SPAs.  

Successful SPAs require well-designed secure web APIs. Our APIs are designed with REST principles and are always reviewed by our head distributed systems architect, Richard Blewett.

Our APIs are protected using modern security protocols and are reviewed by our security team.

Mobile development

Secure mobile application development, with an optional twist of content management.

We develop mobile applications for both iOS and Android, using technologies that allow us to build applications with the correct native look and feel for each platform, while allowing us to re-use a large amount of code. This keeps the cost of supporting both platforms very low.

Our dedicated security team are there to advise the mobile team on the latest security best practices, ensuring that your mobile data stays secure. 

Most mobile applications require a re-publish to the app store if things need to change. As a CMS specialist, we can build mobile applications with the content delivered from a CMS. This gives you control of the content without the continual need to re-publish to the app stores.