Hi there, I’m glad you’ve decided to create your app with Buildfire. Now before you get to building, let me give you a brief tour of our control panel.
The first thing you’ll notice is how easy it is to use. On the right-hand side, you’ll see our Emulator which will update in real time as you make edits to the Editor on the left-hand side. You can also use the Emulator to navigate through your app. So if you click on a part of the app emulator, the editor will update in real time too!
Appearance is where you control your home plugin. This is the first plugin instance that your users will see when they open the app. Under branding, you can change your app name, app icon, and loading screens. You can even be a little creative here when choosing the colors for your app! Choose from one of our preset themes or customize your own. It’s also under Theme Colors that you can change the font of your app.
The Media Library is where you can upload images and use them anywhere in your app. When you upload images, the system will automatically scale, crop, and compress them for you based on your layout and for optimal loading times. Once you upload an image to your media library, it’ll be stored here for future use. That way, you can use the same assets anywhere else in your app without going through the trouble of uploading it again every time.
The Home Plugin is exactly what you’d imagine — it’s the plugin that users will see when they first open the app. You can technically set this to be any Plugin you’d like, but if you’d like to go for a more traditional and beginner-friendly home page, we suggest you use our Advanced Folder, Folder, or Home Page Grid Layout Plugin. You can control what plugin gets to be your Home Plugin in the Appearance section under Home Plugin.
To move the order of your plugins around in our default home plugins, simply click and hold the three lines next to the plugin here, drag them to where you’d want it to be, and let go.
Speaking of plugins — what are they exactly? Well, think of “Plugins” as a feature that you can add to your app. Each feature has a different role — some have social or informational uses, while others sync up with popular external applications. We have dozen of plugins that you can choose from and are constantly working to build and release more. If you have a license key, then you can also install a Plugin to your list by clicking on “Install New Plugin”.
To add a Plugin to your app, select from our list of Plugins here, then click Add. Give it a name, then click Add again. You’ll then see the Editor take you straight to the plugin to edit it. Every plugin will have different inputs and fields to fill out, but they will always have these things in common:
The Plugin Icon: clicking on this will allow you to change the icon for your plugin. Feel free to use our free icons, or upload some of your own.
Plugin name: You can change the name of your plugin by changing this field here.
Deep Link URL: With this url, you can link back to this section of your app from anywhere — including inside or outside of your app.
Requires login: checking this box will require your users to create an account in order to access this plugin.
Help: Clicking on the Help button will take you to a help page that will have a tutorial video and article to teach you the basics of how to use that plugin.
Media Library and Text WYSIWYG: A lot of our plugins will also have these same two sections that connect to our Media Library and Text WYSIWYG, so I’ll go over them quickly. Clicking on Add Image will allow you to access your Media Library and add any images there to your plugin. If you’d like to upload a new image, just click on “Upload Image(s)”. Description allows you to insert text and images to your plugin. You can type directly into this box and make changes to the text size, format, and more.
When you’re done creating your Plugin, you’ll then have to add it somewhere to your app. You can add it to a Folder-type Plugin, the Home Plugin, or the Side Menu.
If you’d like to add it to your Home Plugin, go to Home Plugin, scroll down and click “Add Plugin Instance”. Find the Plugin you created, select it, and click apply at the bottom.
To add it to a folder, advanced folder, or home page grid layout plugin, go to My Plugins and then click “Edit” on your desired plugin. There will be an “Add Plugin Instance” button as well. Find the Plugin you created, select it, and click apply at the bottom.
To add it to your Side Menu, go to Side Menu, and click “Select Plugin Instance”. Find the Plugin you created, select it, and click apply at the bottom.
Now, moving onto Notifications. This is where you’ll go to send out notifications as well as create user groups to target those notifications. This will be unlocked once you upgrade and publish your app, so don’t worry about it for now.
The Analytics section will only go live once you upgrade and publish your app. This section will show you how many downloads and users your app has. It also has a section for integrating with Segment. To learn more about Segment, click here.
Now let’s move onto Settings. Account is where you can change your name and password.
Access Code lets you limit who can access your app. We suggest using this if your app is for internal organizational use only, such as for employees, your team, or for a conference.
Publishing Info is where you’ll go to fill out a form prior to submitting your app to the app stores. This is empty now because you’ll have to upgrade your app first. When your app is done and ready to go, all you have to do is click the Upgrade button up here. On the next page, select one of our pricing plans.
The Basic plan is for those who are just experimenting in the mobile space. There are limits in functionality and features, but for the low price it’s the best way to go if you’re just starting out.
The Premium plan is for small to medium-sized businesses that are in it for the long-haul. You’re sure that going mobile is your next business move and you’re just starting to learn about this space.
The Professional plan is for those who felt like the Premium plan isn’t good enough for them. The app you have in mind is a bit complex and might require more coding. You also plan on having a larger userbase to appeal to and need an app that can keep up.
Once you decide on which plan to go with, click Upgrade and enter in your payment information. When you’re back on the control panel, the upgrade button should now be replaced with a Publish button. When you’re ready, click Publish, fill out this form and click “Yes, submit for publishing.” It should take 3-5 days for it to be published to Google and 2 weeks for Apple.
Share Settings allows you to control where your Share App Plugin links will go to. When your users share your app with this plugin, the link will direct to whatever link you paste here. You can put in your app store download links or links to other landing pages.
And last but not least, App Settings. To understand App Settings, I’d like to first point out our translation options up here in the header. If you click the Select Language field, a drop-down menu will appear that lets you change the language in your control panel and app. For the most part, everything will be translated. However, the phrases in App Settings cannot be translated because they have been hard-coded into the system. That’s what these fields are for. Input whatever you’d like to translate these words to. If you enter a term and then delete it, that term will simply disappear from your app so be careful. In order to bring it back, simply give it a name again.
When you’re finished building your app, you can preview it by clicking on Preview on Phone and entering your phone number in this field here. You will be texted a link to view and test your app on your phone. This is great if you want to see how the changes you’ve made to your app feels on a phone!
And that’s it for our Control Panel System Overview! If you have any more questions, you can click on the question mark in the bottom right to chat with a customer support representative or check out Buildfire University for more help videos and articles.
We pride ourselves in our ability to support our customers as best as possible, so, please, feel free to reach out anytime. Thanks for watching! Now get out there and start building!