Create Native Apps for WordPress: Can Mobile Dreams Embrace Reality?

There are many reasons why the shift to mobile is a good thing. First off, the need to translate between desktop and mobile has always been a big barrier. As of late though, developers have been making apps and sites that run on both, seamlessly.

Create Native Apps for WordPress: Can Mobile Dreams Embrace Reality?

So it is no wonder that Native apps that run on WordPress are becoming the next trend. You see, there are countless sites that run through WordPress so sometimes they need apps that have the permission to use the full scope of the phone. Of course, at some point it would seem that the translation can be impossible.

How Native Apps Work

For the uninitiated, the term Native app may seem hard to differentiate from a normal app. The difference between a normal app and one that runs natively is permission. A program that is built within the framework and language of a specific OS can run all the hardware and software within the device. Basically, programs will have permission to access all aspects of your phone. That full control is what makes native apps have an edge over other forms of apps built within other platforms. The following are the other forms of apps that you may want to look into.

Web Apps

The prime difference that defines a web app is that it functions like any other program would except that it isn’t necessarily running from your PC. The program is stored on a separate server and is run partially through your hardware. They’re found online and usually run through the browser itself. Some smart phones may not have the ability to run these programs because of plug in support. However, they have been proven to be a popular choice among desktop developers that have limited resources.

Cloud App

Cloud App

This form of application is basically a hybrid that was built with both desktop programs and web apps in mind. You see, when you install this type of program, it usually deploys a desktop app that needs to run on your PC’s hardware. Then there is the secondary process, which is run from a remote server. Both in tandem tax a different type of resource but has streamlined interactions between the cloud and your PC.

What Does This Have to Do with WordPress?

So what do apps have to do with WordPress? Well, the fact here is that recently, standardized web APIs have been the way to go. They help simplify the process of designing sites and they also make development much easier on the average user. Now that there are so many of them that cater to many different needs, it was only a matter of time before you could develop programs through the use of a web API. At the same time, the can be programmed in the native language of certain mobile OS’ so they can actually have the same access native apps can have.

This makes development in between web APIs much smoother because sites can now access some of the hardware capabilities of a smart phone. That can make web pages look and run even better. Of course, there is a bit of a problem when it comes to giving permission.

The Risks of Permission

The very nature of security is that it doesn’t allow unsavory things into private places. Whether it’s access to your hardware or your email account, security strives to keep everything in your life running smoothly. In fact, many developers and programmers have even worked on a system that provides safe email for kids 3 and above ages. This is why many different measures have been taken so that it isn’t so easy to manipulate the important details. However, all it takes for that security to crumble is to give your permission. The ever present issue of allowing third party programs to run on your hardware is that you never know how they’re manipulating you. As it stands, there are many rumors that state a lot of your data have been manipulated by numerous different websites.

Of course, WordPress isn’t by any means a small website. In fact, it’s one of the largest standardized web APIs that host thousands of different sites at any one time. This means that when you develop native apps through their platform, they’ll check your product before releasing it to the public.

The Benefit: Easier Programming for Everyone

The point of software and computers is that they’re supposed to make things easier for everyone. So it was only a matter of time before streamlined app development became a big thing. Most of these new development tools include the use of a click and drag plus point and click scheme of design.

It’s a means of readying tools on the fly so that experienced developers won’t have to build from scratch and newbies can learn a thing or two. This ease of use can open up new dimensions of exploration because no time will be wasted on line by line coding.

Many Resources are Open Source

Open Source Resources

The problem with many different programs is that they’re used for enterprise, which means you’ll be paying for stuff that’s already free. Open source languages and programs are often overlooked because they don’t seem professional. The biggest benefit of open source software is that they’re mostly free and none of the developers ask for payment. Just look up programs like blender or audacity and check out how high their quality is.

So from there, you can probably tell that open source programs are much more useful to programmers and developers. Those same developers create applications that make it easier for others to create new programs. Basically, this means that you can make programs for free and without the hassle of any further translation.

The Resources

Okay, so mentioning the programs in passing would seem like a pointless endeavor if none of those resources were mentioned. Here are some of the best you should be considering if you’re designing apps through a standardized web API.

WiziApp

The beauty to WiziApp is that it makes great use of AdSense, which makes it easier for business sites to integrate into the framework. Google Analytics is also heavily integrated within the framework, allowing you to gain valuable data for your site and Google. At the same time, Wiziapp makes proper use of its capability to emulate HTML 5. For those that don’t know, HTML 5 works much better with mobile and is also the most elegant iteration of HTML.

Titanium

If you’re not looking into plugins or simple enhancements, then titanium is the framework for you. The program is very versatile. It allows you to code within the native languages of Android, HTML 4, Blackberry, and finally, iOS. The extensible nature of titanium also allows for growth within the programs boundaries, which means you can even learn how to improve your experience on your own.

Phone Gap

Phone Gap is another detailed program that uses the permission you give it to access the different hardware aspects of a phone. It uses features like the camera and the accelerometer, which is a bit strange when considering the nature of web apps. However, it also uses your contact list and local files, which can be very beneficial. It gives your site some new tools to work with and streamlines the general user experience.

Why is This Important?

So we’ve been discussing everything from mobile apps to how native programs work, but you may have been asking a different set of questions. Why would it be so important for you to use a mobile site when your WordPress pages get enough views as it is? Well, there are a lot of different reasons for this, and some of them may surprise you.

Importance of Native Apps

The smart phone boom is a very recent trend, which makes it hard to see how many benefits it yields to many different developers. To break it down; the recent trend doesn’t look like it’s going away anytime soon. More and more users have been ignoring their laptops and desktops in favor of their phones and tablets. In fact, a large chunk of users actively favor the use of their phone when the browse the internet.

The need for both a mobile and a desktop presence is very evident from that fact alone, but that’s enough, you can always look to the monetary reasons. Since most sites, mobile or otherwise, can still access advertising, you’ll be able to make extra revenue from different devices.

Lastly, you’ll also have to remember that a lot businesses and site owners have been taking the shift. That’s right, if you don’t shift and use plugins or frameworks that exploit HTML 5 or responsive design, your site can be considered outdated. Nothing kills a website faster than outdated programming tricks and archaic code.

So now that you know about native apps, how they work with WordPress, and why you should start shifting to mobile, maybe you want to build something from the ground up. For younger developers that want to learn the tools of the trade, these are some of the things you’ll need to learn.

HTML 5

HTML 5 has been around for a while, but when it first came out no one knew exactly how to use it. In fact, many different programmers are still trying to work new tricks out of HTML 5. Of course, the platform is still using most of the fundamentals of HTML, so the procedure will be less jarring. Most of what’s new is improved support of new tags and online features.

These different tags are mostly aimed at improving media support without the use of Java or third party languages. The <video> and <audio> tags make it easier to work with multimedia resources. Developing games straight in the code is also a new feature. It has a ton of potential but has limited support when it comes to some browsers. However, one can already see how ambitious this program is and how it might actually eliminates the need for the use of multiple languages to make one site.

There are many different resources through which you can learn HTML. The most brutal but effective resource is to check out HTML.net as it contains everything you need to know about HTML. Tizag is also another resource for lessons regarding the language. It takes the user from the most basic lessons to advance lessons using more than just HTML.

WordPress

While WordPress tries its best to simplify the creation of websites, you’ll still have to learn about in order to make full use of web standardized API app development. Okay, so the first thing you’ll need to know is that WordPress is still considered a Content Management System. It has been used as a blogging tool more often than not but the plugins have expanded their uses. As it stands, you can make nearly any kind of site using WordPress and its different resources. Unfortunately, those same plugins also make it harder to learn how to use the CMS program.

As with HTML, there are a ton of different tutorials you can refer to in order to learn a little bit more about WP. The most reliable source to learn how to create your own WP template is to hit the codex itself. The developers of WordPress have gone to great lengths in order to provide newbies important lessons. Siteground takes this a step further by providing an extensive list of the different plugins and themes you can work with as well. Lastly, they also help you improve security and optimize the CMS program.

Responsive Design

Responsive design is a set of principles and methods that are designed to make desktop sites more accessible to mobile platforms. At the same time, it removes the need for site owners to develop two different sites in order to maintain an online presence. The basic idea is that users on the phone and the desktop will still be treated to all the features of a normal website.

The idea behind this concept is to provide a single URL for mobile and desktop apps. Every piece of content on the site in question adjusts to the screen size. This way, mobile users won’t have to keep zooming in so that they can see the content on the page.

Along with the proper resizing of images, here are the other things that drive the concept of responsive design. The fluid grid concept removes the need for a defined unit and instead pushes for percentages in order to accommodate smart phone resolutions. Media queries will let CSS elements work better with mobile browsers. It does this through the use of the dimensions that the browser itself takes.

Conclusion

Can mobile dreams embrace reality? Well the short answer is yes. First off, because there are numerous frameworks and programs that enable you to do this through simpler means. Barring that, you can also learn the very basics of how these functions would work. While the trends are slowly changing, it never hurts to future-proof your site or at least learn some of the skills to do so. Whichever way you want to look at it, mobiles are important. This is why major sites are starting to find ways to use systems hardware rather than rely on web and cloud services. If you want to know more, all you’ll have to do is to learn a little more about these systems. At the same time, you’ll stay ahead of the curve so that you’ll stay in the know about important updates about mobiles and web technology.

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3 Comments

  1. Mobile is the way of the future! Thanks for breaking down this information, I didn’t know that WordPress is still considered a content management system. Responsive design seems the most appealing to me…

  2. Good points in the article, especially on the rise of native wp based apps – there’s more opportunities for bloggers looking for a (real) native app solution, like our Mobiloud.

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