Tag Archives: Stack

CityGrid Local, Mobile Stack: Urban Airship

Urban Airship came out with some new push notification tools this week, including services that allow you to slice-and-dice your mobile application audiences by location, time, context and preference–allowing you to improve the relevancy and targeting of messages and offers.

Some examples they give are:

  • a national retailer could off-load excess inventory held by various stores by targeting offers to people in those cities or multiple ZIP codes that have a preference for that product category.
  • a sports or entertainment venue could target people that are nearby right now to drive attendance on a slow day, or offer longer-term promotions for people that were visitors within the last six months but not in the prior three months.
  • a media site could define custom segments called Travelers or Movers based on changes in cities, states or countries over time, and bolster its breaking news pushes with useful local content.



The new Urban Airship products are Push and Rich Push® composers, allowing users to construct targeted segments that join location information with in-app behaviors, preferences and device profiles.

“As an always-on-you device, smart-phones and apps offer the ability to accurately know where people are and what they care about, but too often marketers cast a wide net using only snapshots of insight,” said Scott Kveton, CEO and co-founder, Urban Airship. “In ignoring individuals’ context and behavior over time, marketers risk losing the privilege of leveraging the most intimate communications channel available.”

The entire Urban Airship platform which now includes Push Notifications, Rich Push, Push Composer, In-App Purchase, Subscriptions and Reports, has API access for developers, including iOS and Android libraries ready to go.

I’m adding Urban Airship to the CityGrid Local, Mobile Stack and will be weaving more of their services into what we offer here in the CityGrid Developer Center as well as our hackathon tools.

CityGrid Local, Mobile Stack: GeoIQ

I’m adding another tool to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack. This time its is the robust mapping platform GeoIQ.

GeoIQ provides a platform for uploading and download data, searching for data within maps and building, embedding, and theming maps or charts in your web sites and applications.

GeoIQ is the engine that powers the attractive looking and powerful GeoCommons mapping community.

The GeoIQ API provides both a REST API and a JavaScript API, enabling developers to:

  • Upload data and register web feeds
  • Manage, update, and delete datasets
  • Download datasets
  • Search for data and maps
  • Create maps and style layers
  • Embed maps and charts into websites
  • Create, update and delete users
  • Create groups and add or remove users
  • Set access permissions for viewing, downloading, or editing resources

The combination of a JavaScript API and REST API gives developers a lot of control over the mapping features in their web and mobile apps. You can quickly embed and display using JavaScript while also programmatically control every aspect of your mapping resource with the REST API which provides data in Atom, CSV, SON, KML and XLM formats.

GeoIQ is definitely an essential addition to the local, mobile stack–I see it providing a utility you can use to deliver custom and robust mapping solutions for your mobile and web applications.

CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack: Parse

In February I’m spending more time building, what I’ve dubbed the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack, a list of APIs, platforms and tools that you can use in your local-mobile applications.

Of course CityGrid PlacesOffersReviews andAdvertising are first in that stack, but I want to identify other APIs, tools and platforms that can also assist you in quickly building your mobile app.

As I add items to this stack. I will showcase them one by one here on the blog. The next one on my list is Parse, which offers a pretty impressive data storage, push notifications and user management platform for your mobile backend.

Parse is looking to provide a single platform for your mobile backend, providing a single cloud interface for:

  • Data Storage – Providing native SDKs for iPhone and Android ORM data storage platform, allowing objects to be stored and retrieved as needed.
  • Push Notifications – A standardized push notification platform across iPhone and Android, overcoming the headaches of each individual platforms notification system.
  • User Management – Nobody likes having to rewrite your own user management system, so parse provides one that securely allows you to sign up, login and manage users across multiple devices.

At first glance I thought Parse was just another back-end for iOS or Android mobile applications, but I see they have a robust REST API, that can be used in mobile web apps as well. This means you can access the same users, data storage and take advantage of push notifications in your mobile web, or just the web version of your applications platform.

The REST API opens up the playing field and lets you interact with Parse from anything that can send an HTTP request, some examples they provide are:

  • A mobile website can access Parse data from Javascript.
  • A webserver can show data from Parse on a website.
  • You can upload large amounts of data that will later be consumed in a mobile app.
  • You can download recent data to run your own custom analytics.
  • Applications written in any programming language can interact with data on Parse.
  • You can export all of your data if you no longer want to use Parse.

Native app usage is definitely growing with more smart phone usage, but bridging the worlds between multiple devices as well as on the web is critical. Parse making the decision to provide a REST interface to your mobile back-end is smart.

Parse seems to be truly about making mobile app developers lives easier, with constant improvements coming down the pipes, like syncing, realtime push, and analytics soon — all without having to develop, maintain, and deploy complicated server code.

I’m adding Parse to the CityGrid Local, Mobile, Social Stack and will be weaving more of their services into what we offer here in the CityGrid Developer Center as well as our hackathon tools.