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A Step-by-Step Approach to Turn Your WordPress Site into an App

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WordPress has already made an unconventional leap when it comes to becoming the most renowned CMS solution out there. However, after dictating the web world for so many years, the platform is now all set to embrace the app revolution to populate your mobile and tablet devices with some of its favorite bits of pieces.

With mobile apps becoming so ubiquitous and absorbing the lives of web users, it has become crucial for online players to capitalize on this evolving trend and offer a more streamlined experience to their audience. A mobile app is quite convenient for customers to interact with a brand or its website. It allows marketers to communicate with their customers more effectively, while expanding their brand exposure. Converting a WordPress site into an app means, you are always with your customers no matter wherever they go or move around.

Even though, we know how much important for us to create a mobile app for our business, many of us don’t want to spend a huge amount of money to create mobile apps. Thankfully, there are some nifty tools and techniques available that help us to fabricate a mobile app in the manner most effective. Nowadays, you don’t need to be a seasoned coder to build a compelling app. You only need to have a strong grip over some tools and app builders that will enable you to convert your WordPress site into a mobile app.

[divider]Understanding the Concept of Free App Builders[divider]

The growth of mobile apps have also influenced the rise of some resourceful tools like PhoneGap  that makes it possible for webmasters to build power-packed mobile apps without breaking the bank.

The buoyancy of PhoneGap is above than anything else. It is also very easy to use; just upload your HTML, CSS, and JavaScript files and leave rest of the job to the site. The major benefit of using PhoneGap is that it allows you to build cross-platform apps to cater the needs of a number of devices. The platform has also been integrated with a great deal of libraries that eases the development process and save you a plenty of time.

However, to ensure the success of your app, you need to ensure that it is optimized well for mobile viewing. The next section talks about this process in detail.

[divider]Creating Mobile Version of a WordPress Site[divider]

Optimizing a WordPress site for mobile devices is a crucial step, so make sure you don’t ignore it at any cost. There are plenty of plugins available that help you achieve this goal efficiently. Let’s know about some of them.

[divider]WP-Touch  [divider]

WPtouch

WP-Touch is an high-end plugin that allows you to create commendable themes quickly with less efforts. Its administration panel lets you customize your theme depending upon your needs without touching even a single line of code.

[divider]iThemes Mobile[divider]

Creative fully-functional WordPress themes using iThemes Mobile. It’s an effective plugin that enables you to build themes that compliment the current standards of your WordPress site.

[divider]WordPress Mobile Pack[divider]

Mobile Pak

Using this plugin, one can easily come up with a number of cross-platform mobile apps, UI and theme options in the best possible manner.

[divider]Getting Started with PhoneGap to Create a Mobile App[divider]

[divider]Laying the Foundations[divider]

Getting started with PhoneGap is extremely easy. The entire process starts once you are done with creating a PhoneGap Builder account. The builder comes packed with a free plan along with a host of OpenSource apps to get you started.

[divider]Creating necessary files[divider]

Your root directory includes some necessary files such as index.html, config.html, accompanied by some default icon files listed in png format. You can also see a res directory provided with OS-specific icons that are to be used in homescreens and splash pages.

After this, you can proceed to create icons with the help of image processing and vector programs. But mind you, these programs are useful unless and until the outcome comes in .jpg, .png, or .psd format or is more than 1000×1000 pixels.

[divider]Configuring Your App[divider]

Next, you get to actually configure your app- this is done with the help of controllers provided by config.xml file. The file controls different functions and behaviors of an app and is compatible across a range of platforms, so you don’t need to waste your time modifying the same to suit the requirement of any specific OS.

Here, you need to provide the name, description, author, content@src and access@origin listings. For a better understanding of this concept, you can refer to this article.  By providing all the details you can sync your app with WordPress site.

[divider]Add Finishing Touch To Your App[divider]

This is done by navigating to Apps then PhoneGap Build account. Once you sign in to your account, you’ll be provided with an empty screen. For those who login using Github, can see their repositories listed in the “find existing repo”. If you sign in using Adobe and you have your zip file stored in the hard drive, then simply upload it. The program, in return, will start evaluating the data and will present you with a screen with all the relevant details you need to know about your app. After this, click on “ready to build” to make it work.

Please note: PhoneGap builder is compatible with iOS only if you are a part of the iOS Developer program. You can become a member of this progress or hire ios developer by paying $99 per year. Using this software, it becomes quite easy for you to build an app quickly and easily. The reason being why we are using PhoneGap it allows us to build apps that is cross-compatible and make use of the functionalities of native devices.

You application development process is about to finish, so you can now think of testing your app by clicking on the Android icon to download it on your device. There are times when icons don’t appear, the reason being- you might have navigated to the wrong URL, in the config.php file. If this is a case, then fix it up straightaway before anything goes wrong.

If everything runs as expected, then you can test your app to know whether it’s working well or not. If you find anything unexpected during the process, make sure you fix it to render your users a smooth experience

[divider]Conclusion[divider]

Creating a WordPress app shouldn’t be a nerve-wracking experience for anyone having a sound knowledge of these nifty tools and techniques. So, follow the above mentioned steps to start creating an app that lives up to high level of design and functionality.

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Written by Amanda Cline

Currently employed with Xicom Technologies Ltd.- one of the leading mobile application development company, Amanda can serve as an excellent asset for your web and mobile development projects. You can contact her via @amandacline111 . She has also written interesting and informative articles on Custom Software Development, Web and mobile Application Development etc.

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