How The Hadden partnered with Build Labs to connect 100s of members across locations
Native Apps Deployed
The Hadden felt disconnected and had lacked a way to share preferences for the club.
Build Labs created a social app to be used by in-person members that brought the club together.
# of Members
What we built
The Hadden, a local Minneapolis club, sought to make better connections among members. The Hadden App is built on the Concrete Framework, an app framework designed by Build Labs for social clubs. The core of the app revolves around the member directory. Members can set preferences in the drink and cigar preference modules, then check out others’ choices and contact info in the directory. The Hadden is built on React Native and ported to iOS and Android –– accessed across all mobile devices. The drink and cigar preferences are designed around a visual framework to allow members to identify cigar and drink nuances quickly.
Our Technical Solution
Knowing the app would be designed entirely for mobile, Flask (Python), AWS, and React-Native with Expo were chosen to allow for greater flexibility. In addition, combining these technologies into a custom stack (FARE) allowed for more adaptability across mobile platforms and rapid iteration.
Flask allows for highly lightweight but powerful back-end hosting and APIs. AWS carries the load for Databases and User Authentification, applying the total reliability and stability of the Amazon web platform. In addition, react-Native with Expo offers the ability to design a front-end for Android and iOS with as little platform-specific work as possible, increasing development speed.
FARE facilitated building a software platform that operates quickly, is easily updatable and is tightly synchronized across multiple operating systems.
Solving the Expo Puzzle
The Hadden required a universal app on both Apple and Android to meet their wide and varied user base. Though native apps were considered, the universality of the features caused the team to consider Flutter and React Native. Ultimately, we went with React Native because our major constraint was time to market.
React native is the fastest development time of the two options especially if your team has a background in React development for the web. The major advantage of flutter is performance and in our use case that performance differential would be almost negligible to the end user. React Native also comes with Expo, a very powerful open source development framework. Expo swiftly integrated into our project and comes with some amazing features out of the box. We could quickly add push notifications and geofencing capabilities to our app without the need to write our own plugins for iOS and android respectively. With a few init commands we had access to all of Expo’s features. We could quickly add push notifications and geofencing capabilities to our app without the need to write our own plugins for iOS and android respectively.
Expo Application Services (EAS) Is their cloud deployment tool and makes building and pushing to app stores a breeze. They also offer a free version with limited resources if you are building as a hobby. Expo isn’t perfect and there are always drawbacks. If you need a very specific set of features or packages for your app expo will NOT work and you will have to use a bare react native project where you can create your own plugins in Java/Objective-C.
Overall with the features that we needed to deliver React Native and Expo were the clear winner and we couldn’t be more satisfied with the developer experience that expo provides.