SC:Develop

Building the Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf for Office 365

Context & Drivers

The Oxford Learner’s Bookshelf (OLB) is a cross-platform e-reader application, which plays interactive digital books in a proprietary format that is highly suited to customers’ needs.. The platform is intuitive and simple to use for learners, while for schools and teachers the OLB delivers enhanced versions of our learning programs in an inexpensive and easy-to-implement format.

Oxford University Press approached Shaping Cloud to turn the OLB into an app for Office 365 that could then be deployed directly into schools, colleges and universities

Solution

Shaping Cloud worked to a tight delivery schedule in order to build the OLB for Office 365. Working with the existing 3rd party web ebook-viewer, Shaping Cloud created a SharePoint application available in the Office store that allowed users to:

  • Sign in with their Office 365 organisation account and access their own library of books from a variety of machines and devices
  • Redeem OUP voucher codes to add new items to their library
  • Access their library from links anywhere on the SharePoint portal
  • View and interact with their books by integrating the ebook-viewer into the application
  • Save favourite or annotated pages to their institutional OneDrive account for later review

Shaping Cloud built the solution on top of SharePoint Online 2013 and implemented the provider-hosted app model with the application deployed onto the Microsoft Azure platform. The application itself was built on the .NET 4.5 framework with ASP.net MVC 4 and using an Azure SQL Database. For authentication Windows Azure AD was implemented and the application integrates with other Office 365 services, most notable OneDrive where users can store notes and bookmarks as they work.

Shaping Cloud were able to understand our needs and get up and running very quickly, putting together a product architecture that was both well suited to the initial demands as well as allowed re-use and extension later on. Their rich experience in cloud technologies was critical to the success of the project.