A three-dimensional CMS: building VR apps with Contentful

Unlike many CMSes, Contentful is flexible, it gives you freedom, and it helps pushing content to new devices and channels, too. We thought we'd build a VR app to explore how Contentful would fit this new and promising use case.

We've built an app

To prove how flexible Contentful is, we've built a simple yet fun VR app for Android, with all the content like textures and models (as well as product names, prices and descriptions) coming directly from Contentful. The app shows some products, just as an online shop of the future might do, but it's all three-dimensional and feels surprisingly real.

The experience of holding a phone next to your eyes and getting a feeling of being inside a three-dimensional environment happens thanks to Google Cardboard: the phone is placed inside a basic cardboard container, which makes the experience very convenient.

Here's how the app looks like – certainly a gif doesn't carry the pleasantly surprising VR feeling, but at least it gives an idea of what's in there.


What the app looks like

Try it

If you have an Android phone and a cardboard box, just download the app and experience it all yourself. By the way, the app is open-sourced: see the GitHub repo if inspecting other people's code is your thing.

Behind the scenes

This is the underlying content model which makes it all happen:

contentful cardboard  content model

The content model behind each product

contentful cardboard  stanford bunny

(Some of) the actual content

The nice thing about keeping the data in Contentful instead of having them hardcoded in the app is that content can be changed, added or removed in the CMS, and these updates will be immediately visible in the app. Also, it means that anyone can do it – not just developers. How liberating.

Tech details coming soon

The whole topic of VR is getting more and more popular recently. For everyone who's curious – Mario, our Android Developer Evangelist, will write a post soon, in which he'll go into the sophisticated technical details behind the app, showing how OpenGL was used, and what other VR tools are out there.

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