Hardly a month goes by without a new mobile app builder platform launching in the market. These builders are good stuff if you don’t know about coding, but the fact is their standardization limits your capacities to build your dream app. More of that, they are subscription based, that means if you stop paying, your app will disappear from the stores. To fix that, the best would be an open-source solution. This is what Xtraball, a French company, has done by launching Siberian CMS, an open-source and free CMS for creating mobile applications.

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Installation

First, you have to download Siberian CMS. Just go on Siberiancms.com and download the last version. Then, unzip the files and send them onto your server. It’s just like setting up a WordPress or a Joomla website. After that, an installer guides you through the setup.  It just takes 3 easy steps, including the database connection and the account creation. Finally, after being logged in to your back-end, you can begin to create your own app.

Features

This CMS comes with a panel of pre-built features already integrated. You can also download addons from the marketplace or, since it is open-source, create your own.

Integrated features:

Push Notifications: allows you to send push notifications to your users.

– Newswall: create a wall with news that users can comment and like.

– RSS feeds: integrate feeds from blogs directly in your app.

– Photo & Video gallery: import videos from YouTube, Vimeo, or from an URL, and photos from Instagram, Picasa or from your computer.

– Custom page: create a page with your own content, text, videos, photos, address, etc.

– Facebook: integrate a Facebook page directly in the app with comments and likes enabled.

– Loyalty card: can be useful for local businesses.

– Social Gaming: a little social challenge for the users based on the loyalty points they have validated.

– Coupons: create coupons with limited uses, ending dates, etc.

– Catalog: to create a list of products with or without prices.

– Contact: a contact page with a cover image, a touch to call button, social links and geolocation.

– Booking: a multi-stores booking form.

– Link or Links: using the « Link » feature, you add one web link directly displayed in a web view within the app. The « Links » feature, on the other hand, allows you to create a list of links inside a single page.

– Form: create different types of forms.

– Calendar: integrate your events from Facebook or Google Calendar, or create your owns.

– Wordress: a WordPress plug in to import your blog automatically into your app.

– Folders: allows you to organize your app by using categories, sub-categories and pages stored in them.

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Features from the Marketplace :

In the Siberian marketplace, you will find some new features as well as services like iOS and Android publication, training videos to understand how to develop for Siberian CMS if you are a developer, or Siberian CMS installation if you don’t know how to set it up. You can also download other languages. Some addons are free, some addons are not.

– Commerce: create a multi-stores mobile commerce app, using Paypal for payments.

– Audio: import playlists from iTunes, Soundcloud, Podcasts or from URLs.

– Source Code: insert any HTML or Javascript code.

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Making your app

Siberian CMS allows folks who can’t code to create their apps easily, by using a drag&drop editor. Just add a feature in your app, and then fill it out with content. It’s easy. You can take a look at the user documentation on the Siberian CMS website for some features who can be a little bit harder to set up, such as the folder feature. But it’s really simple, and you are able to build your own app within a few minutes. Plus, you can live preview your mobile app by using Siberian CMS Previewer, an app previewer on the App Store and Google Play, allowing you to test your app live on your mobile.

Then, you just have to download the sources and compile them to submit your app on Google Play and the App Store, because, yes, it is a cross-platform solution. By building once you get an app for the Android phones, and an app for iPhones. The updates you will make on your app after its publication are automatic, and there is no need to republish the app on the stores.