Over 24% of the Internet uses WordPress, and many of those folks want a mobile app.
It makes perfect sense to use content from WordPress in the app, so that when the website is updated, the app is updated. For example, if you are an online magazine, you would want any new articles you publish to be available in the app instantly. If you make any changes to the website, you’d also want those changes to apply to the app without any extra work.
Some app builders use a third party content management system where you create your app content. If you have a WordPress website, why not use WordPress as the CMS?
WordPress users are accustomed to using plugins and themes to customize their website, and these don’t always translate well to a mobile app. This presents some unique challenges when a developer is approached by a client who wants to mimic their WordPress website in a mobile app. For example, if a client uses BuddyPress to create a social network on their website, and they want a mobile app with the same experience, how can that be accomplished? What about the same situation with an event or ecommerce plugin?
The technical constraints of a mobile app means that integrating website features such as WordPress plugins is often a difficult task. Luckily, there are some options available to get WordPress into a mobile app that can fit any project. Let’s take a look at three of them.
SitePoint has previously covered the topic of WordPress-powered mobile apps, however, in this article we take a deeper dive into three of the options available, discussing the pros and cons of each; App Builders, Custom Hybrid Apps and AppPresser (for which I’m a co-founder).
For each of these methods I will cover building a mobile app with WordPress using hybrid app technology, along with PhoneGap (Narayan Prusty has also covered WordPress and PhoneGap here).
App builders allow you to create a mobile app with no coding, and very little technical expertise.
They can work great if you don’t want to spend a lot of money, and you don’t need anything really custom. There are a variety of app builders, including Mobile Roadie, Shoutem, Good Barber, Reactor, Telerik AppBuilder. Each one has a varying degree of WordPress support, most allow you to integrate posts and comments, but not much else.
For example, Shoutem allows you to pull in posts by installing their plugin on your WordPress site. This lets you display your WordPress content and accept comments to your app.
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