EGYM: Pumped Up with Portals

How EGYM reduced overhead and streamlined development efforts with Portals.

Global fitness technology leader EGYM provides intelligent workout solutions to fitness and health facilities around the world. From connected gym equipment to top-of-the-line software, EGYM empowers gym operators to support members’ fitness journeys through technology. By connecting physical equipment with software, EGYM enables fitness professionals to provide data-based guidance that keeps members motivated and on track to reach their goals. 

EGYM didn’t want their connected solutions to be just another app on users’ phones, understanding that most people are already bombarded with more apps than they care to manage. They wanted to create a single-platform, branded application experience, tailored to a user’s specific facility. Ionic Portals allowed them to do just that.

The challenge

EGYM provides fitness technology solutions to different gyms, which all have different members and different needs. However, gyms don’t want members to be forced to download disparate apps - rather, they want a branded app with a single platform approach. EGYM needed to provide a consistent digital experience that their partnering gyms could customize to meet their specific facility and users’ needs. 

Creating a cohesive app that would allow for such a tailored experience was initially attempted via a series of webviews and native apps. Native mobile customizations proved time consuming as EGYM sought to scale their operation, with teams often needing to re-write the same features for iOS and Android. The process was further complicated by certain gyms requesting custom features, which the team would need to build and provide access to, often waiting on those teams to contribute to the build, or vice versa. 

Ideally, gyms would be able to customize their own applications, with EGYM handing off a shell application equipped to communicate with native platform APIs, and consulting on best practices. This seemed too-good-to-be-true - until they found Portals.

The solution

Thanks to Portals, EGYM is able to provide tailored solutions to their customers more seamlessly than ever. Now, customizations for different clubs can be written by the gyms themselves as microapps. These microapps are then embedded in the overall digital experience, blending in seamlessly. No need for the team to wait on EGYM to build features, and no need for EGYM to spend time trying to develop each one-off experience a facility needs. 

Portals and Appflow have also proved a winning combination for testing and releasing features faster and more efficiently. The team leverages both a dev channel and production channel within Appflow to coincide with the native version builds. With EGYM embedding the initial version of Portals into the native app, their clients are free to deploy changes into either distribution channel without their intervention. Once the client is satisfied with their changes, they can deploy their web build from the dev channel to the production channel. Because the native application already has Portals listening to this production channel, it auto updates to reflect the changes and nothing else is required of the EGYM development team. 

Portals is a real game changer for us. It allows our partners as well as our own development teams to build add-ons much faster than before, while reducing the overhead we had before with native customizations.

Florian Sauter, CTO

The team is also leveraging Live Updates to make and push changes faster than ever. Their prior development process followed a strict cadence, which meant that if users needed updates pushed, it had to be aligned with the overall release process. Thanks to Portals and Live Updates, those critical updates can now be pushed as needed, without regard for the overall release cadence. 

The EGYM team supports the native side while the development team from the partner side focuses on developing their micro apps. Then, EGYM can provide overall guidance and maintain the releases. Oleksandr notes that the team is now able to stage and push changes into their testing channel more seamlessly than ever, “changes can be applied quickly - it’s only possible because of Live Updates.” Senior Software Engineer Alexander Kolomiytsev notes that with Live Updates, “we don’t depend on the release process of iOS/Android, we can release whenever we want.”

The results

EGYM now has several clients who have created web-based microapps. While most are not yet in production, these apps will be rolled out to clients throughout the end of 2023 and beyond. 

Now, clients can develop their own solutions independently without accessing EGYM’s code base. The EGYM team simply provides access to existing APIs (or develops new ones as needed), and then provides assistance on an ongoing basis. Using Portals has ultimately enabled EGYM’s customers and partners to extend their core application further and faster than ever before. 

[Portals] helps us a lot with development and managing changes.

Oleksandr Dolyna, Lead Android Engineer

Now, EGYM can work at their preferred pace when creating the native shell, while partners are able to work and release at their own pace too. 

As the EGYM team got comfortable with Portals, they turned to the Ionic team for help leveraging it to its fullest potential. Senior Software Engineer Sergiy Dniprovskyy notes that working with Ionic’s support was “one of the best parts,” stating that “the support provided by you guys [Ionic] was always excellent and provided in a timely manner.”

Learn more about how Portals can transform the way your team builds apps.

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