How to Develop A Mobile App using WordPress ?

You might remember the time when a mobile phone was used absolutely for communication, but since we have entered the age of smartphones, the whole outlook of using a mobile phone has changed. This little piece of technology has become our ultimate companion. It works as our alarm clock, calculator, world map, helps to build bridges with our loved ones, etc. But that's not it, the main advantage of this ingenious device is that it even lets you earn money and create brand value. All thanks to the incredible mobile applications that have brought the world to our fingertips.

We have seen the wonders websites have done for some tech moguls of current era, but when they shifted their focus to mobile applications, they simply took a leap to the next level. For example, Facebook, since it has introduced its mobile application, almost all the smartphone users became a member of the humongous community. The app has allowed people from all origins to connect with the rest of the world.

On the other hand, WordPress has enabled every other business person to create his or her own website so that their business can prosper. Being the best CMS available over the Internet, you can even use this technology to build your own application. The best part of this deal is that it is quite user friendly and pocket-friendly.

Reasons for Creating Mobile Applications using WordPress

First of all, developing a website with the help of WP is one thing and creating an app is a whole other. Having a WordPress website and turning it into an app is something that makes this whole process worth it. Following are the reasons that support WordPress for Mobile Application Development.

  1. Backward Compatibility - You can use the latest version of WordPress even if your PHP is not updated. Also, you can run the latest plugins even if WordPress is not running on the latest version.
  2. Secure Database - The website will provide you with a secure relational database which can be closely examined.
  3. REST API - Enables wide range of customization.
  4. URL Mapping System - It improves the performance and navigation.

Plugins That Can Convert WordPress Site Into a Mobile App

1. WordApp

To convert the WP site into an Android or an iOS application, you can use this smart plugin that provides ample of templates to pick from, so that you can attain the most alluring face of the application. You can even make some changes to the template or can simply put your own choice if you want, which will help you to create a second to none identity of you and your business.

In a short period of time, conversion is initiated from the WP dashboard and the entire application is sent to you via email. Then, accordingly you can alter the appearance of the application, which includes color, fonts, icons, menus, sliders, etc.

There are other required features as well which can also be added with the help of this plugin. Features like geolocation, allows the application to know the exact location of your user, which is a part of the usage metrics. You can take an advantage of such features to enhance your decision making and improving the potential of your product in the market. You can even enable push notifications that will notify you about your achievements.

2. AppPresser

Another plugin that has been a successful tool in converting WP sites to mobile applications. Even this plugin helps you design an app for both, Android and iOS. Although, there are some moments when you will feel a need to have some knowledge about coding as if you are building a WordPress website. To implement the not-yet-incorporated functionality to the application you need to do some coding or need someone who can.

Basic apps can be easily created with the help of this plugin as there is no need of coding. This plugin enables you to incorporate features like camera, geolocation, accelerometer, push notification, etc. To test the application, Eclipse will be used, while remember that the apps functions along with API that PhoneGap gives access to.

3. WiziApp

It is also a freemium plugin that allows you to convert the website into an app. With millions of downloads in its pocket, it makes it a child's play to drop a mobile app in both Android and Apple app stores within a short span of time. You can even buy the premium version of WiziApp to enjoy the additional features it provides.

To attain a personalized look, templates can be customized with this plugin. Alike WordApp and AppPresser, it also allows you to customize things to make the appearance better. Furthermore, it also allows you to bring in features like push notifications that can be delivered as text messages.

It also enables third party APIs and makes it easy to share suitable content across various social media platforms. You also get to enjoy the excellency of Google Analytics and make your operations far more efficient with the analytics on the activities and behavior of the users. It will make your users to access pages and features even when they are offline. There may come a time when these functionalities require a little amount of coding. But it is always much better than the projects that require thousands of dollars as mobile app developers fees.

Create an App using PhoneGap

1. Create an Account

On your Android mobile or tablet, create a PhoneGap Builder account, which has a free plan that enables you to have a private app or ample of OpenSource applications.

2. Application Files

You need a root directory that has a config.xml, an index.html, several default icon files in png format along with resource directory that has OS-specific icons for splash pages and home screens. Then, you need to create the icons. With the help of vector program you can create the images in .png,.jpg, or .psd which needs to be larger than 1000 x 1000 pixels.
You can give it a professional look by bringing in the App Icon Template, some texture, and work of Photoshop. To provide it with central graphic you can use the IcoMoon that can provide you with a wide range of logos which can be both free and paid. You can even work it out with other websites and apps viz. Make App Icon, The iOS and Android App Icon Size Generator .

3. Configuration

With the presence of config.xml in your root directory, you will have control over most of the application and need not worry about the modification for an individual platform. Next, you need to change the name, widget @ id, description, content @ src, Author, access @ origin listings.

4. The Development Part

Sign in to the Phone Gap Builder website, which will accommodate you with some empty app screens. In the find existing repo, you can find all your repositories if you have signed in via GitHub. If you have the zip file on the system and have signed in through Adobe, you just need to upload the file by pressing the button on the right. After analyzing the data you provided, the program will display a window which will display the details of your about to be app. Simply click ready to build and the work will progress on its own.

Note: iOS is the only platform that can run PhoneGap Builder by joining iOS Developer Program, which costs $99 annually. The software enables you to build an app on your own, but using PhoneGap means saving time and making the development faster by performing three tasks at a time. Though, your are paying for more services than you are using but it will help you reach better places than ever.

It is almost done now, the only thing which is left is testing and for that you need to download the application by clicking the Android icon. The other way to download the app is to go the app’s public page from an Android phone or tablet & after downloading it, installing it from the downloads file. If you do not find the icon of the application than you might have not filled the right URL in the config.xml file. Now you need to fix, re-upload and rebuild the application.

Test the app for sometime but don't spend too much time on it as it's your website only that has been converted into an application. But if by chance you need to alter something or fix something, then via GitHub repo update the files, in PhoneGap Builder, on the app page, update codes. Redo the whole process if something is still wrong or inappropriate.

Author Bio - Sagar is a technical content writer at Syon Infomedia, a mobile app development company. He takes immense pleasure in writing, especially on technologies related to web and mobile app development.