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Need Guidance in Creating Mobile Website that looks and acts like an app, but is really just a mobile website.

Posted on 2015-02-06
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Last Modified: 2016-05-24
I want to create a mobile web site with a responsive design and call it an "App" without actually creating a "native(?)" app. I'm not familiar with programming an app, but I'm a wiz at PHP. So I really want to build a responsive site and use php/mysql for its functions. So I'm hoping there is a quick work-around versus actually programming everything in android/iphone code. Instead I just need an App Icon that accesses the web site which can sit on the home screen just like other apps icons (versus a bookmark).

Also, one important aspect to this is that the user can easily "download" the app to put the icon on their home screen.

So I'm thinking of these possible solutions which I have no idea how to do either and I'm having a hard time finding any answers by searching google, which I'm usually really good at, but with lack of time to spare I surrender to the experts!

1) Create an APP that "iframes" in the web site. So the app is kind of just the container for the web site.

or

2) Simply create an APP Icon and make it open the browser window to my web site "m.mysite.com"

3) ??? is there a better way? Any other Ideas?

I really appreciate your help experts!!!

Tony
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Question by:tonyhhisc
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LVL 2

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by:erzoolander
erzoolander earned 125 total points
ID: 40594549
There are a number of different options you have.  

If you want to have it remain local - PhoneGap or similar wrappers would be one option - that way you can keep it without requiring an internet connection.
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LVL 6

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Rafael I earned 250 total points
ID: 40594738
I did the exact same thing for someone who had an iPhone-compatible mobile site who wanted it ported over to Android.  It was a great learning exercise too, because it was my first app.

Write out your application in PHP/mySQL and host it somewhere.

Download android studio and look up tutorials for making a browser app. then strip out the parts users don't need access to, like address bar, status bar, menu options. Then include your site as the default site, and a few buttons to go home, cancel, etc. The only other thing you'll need to implement is something to check whether or not you have a network connection.

If you don't want to learn about android, you can do a quick search on fiverr.com for people to do it. Some charge $5 for the app, and $10 for the source code, but then you'll still have to figure out how it works to make changes yourself. I have both positive and negative experiences on this site, but for $5 it's not a bad gamble.

Good luck!
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LVL 110

Assisted Solution

by:Ray Paseur
Ray Paseur earned 125 total points
ID: 40594928
If you really need real-time connectivity to the server, consider using Twitter Bootstrap.  It's got a responsive, "Mobile First" design and will also scale well on tablets and desktops.  Examples abound.  You will also want "font awesome" to supplement it.

If you don't need connectivity to the server, you would do well to avoid it.  The cost of data acquisition in an app goes up by an order of magnitude if you must get it from the server instead of from the client device.  By "cost" I mean the battery consumption.  Cached data takes much less power than real-time retrieval.
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