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Create Mobile App that simply redirects to mobile website

Posted on 2014-04-07
Medium Priority
Last Modified: 2014-11-12
I have a client who wants a mobile app for their website.  I created a mobile website for them, and recommended they simply inform their clients how to save a bookmark icon to their phone/tablet versus spending time/money on an app.  Basically, I'm trying to deter them from an app as their site is dynamic...but they still want an app (I think they just think it's cool.)

Anyway, my question is this...is it possible to create an app that, when the icon is clicked, the user would simply be redirected to their mobile site?  It seems pretty simple, but all the app creator programs I'm finding either force me to create a mini site, or cost $30p/m which seems silly if all they need is a redirect.  Let me know.  Thanks.
Question by:StellaBob
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LVL 37

Assisted Solution

Kimputer earned 1000 total points
ID: 39984705
Yes it is possible. Most RAD tools require just 2 lines of code for this app:

Dim p As PhoneIntents

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In this case, it's basic4android. For you, the standard version would do, and sets you back 41 US dollar


Please note that your website might need some adjusting to display it more nicely on a tablet or mobile phone.
LVL 54

Accepted Solution

Scott Fell,  EE MVE earned 1000 total points
ID: 39984943
The app creator type things simply place the site in a webview which you can do on your own.  

A webview loads your site inside of the app and you only have to write a few lines of code.



I will tell you it is easier said then done.  If you don't want to tackle this it will be cheaper to send them to the $30 per month option.  If you want to go down the rabbit hole, I suggest explaining to your client the options.

1) Make a full native app
- Will give the best over all user experiance
- Will require separate coding from the site
- Each OS needs it's own version as it is written in different code (java vs objective-c plus if you want to bring windows phone in the mix)
- Will take a lot of time and  money

2) Use Cordova https://cordova.apache.org/ and create your app in html5 and have it converted to each OS
- Gives the same look and feel as native
- Because of the extra layers of code, will not be as fast to respond to things like buttons
- A lot less expensive to develop because you are using code you already know.

3) Create a webview
- Gives the appearance of an app by using html5 and responsive design methods (auto resize)
- You can still access many of the features that a native app can
- It will not have the same instant feed back  for things like buttons that a native app has
- Since you only have to develop in html5 and can possibly use the current site, will be a lot less expensive to develop

To me, it seems silly to go through the trouble of creating an app just to redirect.  Use a webview if you are going to do that.

As you have seen, there are a lot of app makers out there like http://mobile.conduit.com/ or https://www.yapp.us/ if you have not done this yet, it might be wise to suggest these and not worry about somebody else taking over your cut.  But it would be good to start and this project could be your learning curve.  

For IOS, you will need to get yourself set up as a developer and pay $99 https://developer.apple.com/ or you will not get  your app to market and there is not an easy way to get the app out and avoid the market except to 100 people unless you buy a corporate plan.  Even for creating a simple webview, you will need to do this.

There is no fee to get the app to the android market.  

If you do make the webview, I can't stress enough to go over the good points and bad points. They may be fine with the quirks of a website in an app for the huge savings in development.  But, it will come back, "How come the buttons are not as quick to respond".   It is nice to bring them back to the conversation you had about spending $15,000 or a lot less.

Author Comment

ID: 39986136
Kimputer...with what you gave me, is this just to develop it?  Then would I have to find somewhere to 'host' it?  This is another part of the equation I am totally unfamiliar with.  And is your solution only for Android?  As for the mobile site, I already have that...this is an old site, so instead of them having me build a responsive site for them, I just created a basic mobile version.

Scott...Lots of information, but my head's spinning.  I'm with you about paying a monthly fee for a redirect (which is why I've been trying to convince them this is now wise), but their mobile version not only is dynamic, so when they update their website, their mobile site pulls from the same database, it also has two big 'icky' things (to use a technical term. ;D)  One link is to their bill pay system (which is HORRIBLE...built by a third-party vendor, no mobile option, and it's BAD.)  The other is that their site has 14 Google Calendars embeded onto the pages.  Note, this is a trash/recycling hauler.  Maybe I'm old, but how many people search for and download an app for their trash company?  Wouldn't you just go to their website???

As for letting someone else take a cut, I really don't care.  I'm struggling with wasting my time finding a solution for something I don't believe in.  I was hoping there would be a quick and easy answer so I could be done with this.  

I'll pass on your info, but if anyone has more info, it will be welcome.

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LVL 54

Expert Comment

by:Scott Fell, EE MVE
ID: 39986738
Why bother going through the trouble of an app just to redirect to the site?  My point is either throw the site in a webview (knowing potential issues as you have explained) OR, don't have any app and simply point people to the site.

There are ways an app can be helpful and especially with customer service.  But developing an app is going to take some commitment of time and a nice budget.  If they want to have an app so they can say they have one, use one of the services but simply redirecting to the site seem pointless to me.  If somebody chooses to use an app over going the the site, they are looking for a different experience.
LVL 37

Expert Comment

ID: 39986950
Yes, what I gave you was the total solution for an Android app, takes about 1 minute. You make the app, one time. No need to host anything (or maybe if you want to distribute the app).

Author Closing Comment

ID: 40020730
I basically passed all of the options onto the client.  I'm guessing that by letting them know a full app could cost $15k...well, they haven't gotten back to me, so perhaps they finally see that an app for their website isn't really necessary.  Thanks for all your comments.

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