FRMWRK.IO is a platform that allows for rapid design and development of web and mobile applications. It leverages the component-based architecture of React and React Native for efficient frontend development, while using the popular Django web framework for quick backend development. The platform also includes a powerful Content Management System (CMS) for content entry as well as a unified Application Programming Interface (API) for fetching the data and displaying to the frontend.
FRMWRK.IO follows a component-based pattern. Instead of thinking in terms of pages, the platform approaches a project in terms of its components. The advantage of this approach is that components can be reused across multiple sections of the project. Approaching projects using components greatly increases reuse while at the same time greatly simplifying a project's code, as the focus is on small, manageable pieces.
For the backend, the developer only needs to define their content models and automatically the CMS and API will be generated. By leveraging common patterns of web and app development, FRMWRK.IO streamlines the backend development process to simply defining database models. Configuration of the CMS and APIs can then be progressively customized for more complex situations. We leverage the Django Object Relational Mapping (ORM) as the basis of our model implementation while maintaining a flexible API that intelligently caches and exposes the data to the frontend.
The corresponding mobile app is preset with selections for fonts, sizes, colors, icons, and maps, all of which can be dynamically changed from the CMS. Features can also be toggled on and off and rearranged as necessary.
Strategy, Design, Development, Support
AIGA, the professional association for design, is a non-profit organization with over 25,000 members in 70 chapters across the country. Although the chapters are independently run, AIGA wanted to build a platform that would allow them to create a rich online presence with minimal technical effort.
Enter: iKit. At its core, the iKit is a plugin for WordPress, the CMS selected by AIGA for its ubiquity and easy set-up. The chapters simply install the iKit plugin as they would any WordPress plugin, enable the iKit theme, and customize from there. The plugin centralizes AIGA’s content (social, news, jobs, events, etc.) and the theme styles and displays the content. Once a chapter enters their specifics (like zipcode, social handles, and chapter ID), the plug-in pulls in the content relevant to that location.
Although iKit launched with only one theme, AIGA commissioned us to create additional themes to offer more variety. Because we knew that visual trends in the design community would inevitably change, we designed the front- and back-ends to work independently from each other with defined integration points. This allowed us to design a new theme without modifying the backend plug-in, and chapters were able to simply enable the new theme to implement a total visual redesign. Additionally robust setting options allow chapters to modify aspects of the visual design.
The iKit has been a major success with 95% of local chapters adopting it. Its success hinges on the speed of deployment – about 15 minutes per site – along with how simple it is to use and update, thanks to its modular design. So far, chapter implementations have been diverse, and the framework has accommodated the needs of web admins with all levels of technical expertise. All of these advantages have made the iKit popular with the AIGA community as a whole, and we continue to add new features and visual improvements based on online and in-person feedback.