The creation, deployment, and evaluation of Web-based and mobile-based applications for health, mental health, and wellness within research settings has tended to be siloed, with each research group developing their own systems and features. This has led to technological features and products that are not sharable across research teams, thereby limiting collaboration, reducing the speed of dissemination, and raising the bar for entry into this area of research. This paper provides an overview of Purple, an extensible, modular, and repurposable system created for the development of Web-based and mobile-based applications for health behavior change. Purple contains features required to construct applications and to manage and evaluate research trials using these applications. Core functionality of Purple includes elements that support user management, content authorship, content delivery, and data management. We discuss the history and development of the Purple system guided by the rationale of producing a system that allows greater collaboration and understanding across research teams interested in investigating similar questions and using similar methods. Purple provides a useful tool to meet the needs of stakeholders involved in the creation, provision, and usage of eHealth and mHealth applications. Housed in a non-profit, academic institution, Purple also offers the potential to facilitate the diffusion of knowledge across the research community and improve our capacity to deliver useful and usable applications that support the behavior change of end users.
Keywords: Internet intervention; evaluation methodology; mobile health; mobile intervention; open source; software engineering; software tools.