How to generate an app from a WordPress website

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Why an app at all? To answer it simply: more reach, more user tracking and more “loyal souls”. Apps and mobile websites are not really in competition with each other, but rather complement each other. Nevertheless, statistics clearly show that users spend 18x more time in apps than on mobile websites.

And the trend continues to increase in the direction of apps. A few of the reasons for this are:

  • apps can Push messages send that keep customers in contact with the e-shop.
  • App icons are visible when a user interacts with their phone, making the brand awareness increases.
  • Apps can store user data to enable one-click checkouts and the loading time to minimize.

2 types of apps

There are basically two types of apps:

1.Native app

The native app is programmed as an independent app.
Advantage: It can also work offline.
Disadvantage: It needs double maintenance because the app is not connected to the website.

2. Hybrid app

The hybrid app is based on a previously created website.
Advantage: Time and cost savings in initial development, but also in maintenance. It can do everything a native app can do.
Cons: It doesn’t work offline and needs a constant internet connection.

Step by Step from web to app (with WordPress)

1. Set up a website, preferably with WordPress (e.g. via easyname VPS)

With WordPress you have the advantage of inexhaustible expandability, there are hardly any upper limits.

2. Build theme

With WordPress you have the possibility to choose a ready-made theme and adapt it or you can use/build your own theme.
If an app is to be created from the website, the focus should be on a slim theme/design, as this then requires less loading time.

3. Responsive – Mobile-ready

Here it is important to know which target devices you end up with so that the breakpoints can be optimized properly. It is advisable to optimize for all devices and browsers that have a market share of at least 5%.

4.Contents

The website is now filled with content (text, images, videos, etc.).

The site is ready. Now it’s time for the app.
There are two ways to do this:

A. You design the app yourself with the help of a plugin:

5A WordPress plugin

A WordPress plugin turns a website into a hybrid app. Depending on the type of website (blog, magazine, online shop), there are different options for a plugin. In contrast to a native app, the content and data are converted directly into an app.

6A Possible plug-ins and their properties

andro app
– For content-oriented sites like blogs and magazines – deep link support
– Custom themes

AppPresser
– Extensive adjustments
– Creation of additional content and custom pages Blappsta
– A WordPress blog becomes an app
– Flexibility in organizing content

MobileLoud
– Conversion of blog or news sites into apps
– Facilitate the switch from high-traffic sites to Wapppress
– Website is integrated into a mobile app layout

Web2App
– Quickly move responsive website to native app – lots of customization features

or

B. Have the app created by an agency:

WordPress can serve as the optimal backend platform for building a native app. These mobile apps are programmed by combining WordPress and React Native.

5B. Configure WordPress for an API

The WordPress REST API plugin must be installed in addition to the existing WordPress installation.
One API (Application Program Interface) is a set of protocols that facilitates program development by providing all the required components.
REST (Representational State Transfer) is an architectural style that defines the constraints on the way programs are built.

6B. Set up React Native application

Using React Native enables the best possible use of a WordPress site as a native app for iOS and Android, since the website is “embedded” in an app and numerous features can be added. React Native enables developers to supply both systems with one code base (“write once, run everywhere”) and is therefore ideal for creating a native app. In contrast to all WordPress plugins, the implementation via React Native allows full control over all aspects of the application, which means that a maximum of customer requests can be implemented on the one hand and, on the other hand, long-term maintainability is guaranteed – the availability of all plugins can change at any time, a However, own code base using React Native is independent and under the full control of the customer, even after years of the initial release.

Define the routing of the app

Using React Native also allows you to implement views that are not available on the WordPress site. A prominent example would be a dialog view for activating push notifications or location sharing. Another example would be the use of special views intended only for mobile users, eg alerts for promotions.

Native UI elements

React Native enables the targeted use of all UI elements of the operating system, including those that are sometimes not available in a web app. In addition, the use of native UI elements allows an offline scenario to be covered – although the website is not available, users can be informed about the lack of availability and alternatives using their own views.

Conclusion

With the help of the WordPress REST API plugin, WordPress data can be integrated into a mobile app, which can be provided for both iOS and Android. Thanks to React Native, the additional effort of a multi-platform architecture is reduced to a necessary minimum, which benefits both development time and the maintainability of the app.

The article “How to generate an app from a WordPress website” was written by WP-Stars in cooperation with expressFlow for easyname.

WP Stars & expressFlow

WP Stars is a full-service internet agency for WordPress, e-commerce and web design.