AppPresser, Just A Website In An App?

Do you know how to make a website in WordPress? Then you know how to make an app!

That’s the AppPresser claim, the first mobile development framework for WordPress. But having spent the day playing with it and building an app, I’m struggling to see what the benefit is.

Just what would I use AppPresser for?

Easy to see the gap that AppPresser fills - is your gap though?
Is AppPresser just about putting a website in an app?

Earlier this week, I reviewed five plugins as possible alternatives to AppPresser for building a WordPress-based mobile app, so it seemed only fair that I should play with the newest contender.

Having bought the AppPresser theme (you have to buy something in order to get the PhoneGap build files), I built an app and found myself completely, and unexpectedly, underwhelmed by the whole experience.

It’s probably due to a lack of technical nous, or perhaps a lack of imagination but all I could see was a website in an app and I couldn’t get excited about it. But why not? Why can’t I get as excited as whose tweets appear on the AppPresser front page?

Because AppPresser has two main problems.

It’s Just A Website

The first is that it lives up to its claim that if “you know how to make a website in WordPress…you know how to make an app!”.

Because you really can.

Completely new to PhoneGap, I was easily able to turn a website into an app running on an Android simulator (iOS is a bit more involved due to the PhoneGap build process and Apple, not AppPresser) in next to no time. All by simply following the informative video on the AppPresser website.

Because there’s not much to it.

Add the AppPresser plugin, fill in a few settings, update a configuration, build the screen and icon images, zip it, upload it to the PhoneGap build service and you’re done. Browse to the your apps public page on an Android device and click on the apk link and it’s installed.

Easy.

But what had I really done? All I’d done was produced a browser app that can only show one website. Now, of course, I could make it mobile specific. I could put a mobile theme on it, build specific menus, use many of the techniques written about on this site to create great mobile content.

The great thing is that I wouldn’t even have to rebuild the app because any changes I make are instantly reflected because the app is showing my website.

But then why go to the trouble of building the app when the exact same site is available on the web anyway? When a web-clip would give at least as good, possibly better responding experience than the app? (For some reason, the splashscreen comes up on my app for only a couple of seconds and then I have a blank screen for six or seven seconds before my site appears.)

It’s exactly the same question for the five alternatives I reviewed earlier in the week. What advantage am I getting with the app when it’s basically a website in a bottle?

Device functionality. That’s the advantage, not with the alternatives, but with AppPresser. The ability to add shortcodes to WordPress content to utilize features like the camera and geolocation.

Which brings us to AppPresser’s second problem.

Where’s The Unique Functionality?

Screenshot of iPhone running geolocation demo
Even my 3GS can do HTML5 geolocation
There are only five extensions currently available and only two are about device specific functions with the other three being a theme, an e-commerce bundle and a slider.

Those two device extensions are for the camera and geolocation but both these can be replicated to a large extent using just HTML5 and javascript. This geolocation demo and this camera demo both worked flawlessly on my iPad Air meaning that there’s actually no real gain in having the extensions.

The one extension that would have been a clincher is notifications as that is essential functionality and one distinct advantage that apps have over websites and web apps. Disappointingly, and despite the odd claim to the contrary, AppPresser decided to launch without notifications.

What I’d really like to see are the killer applications, in particular, Newstand integration and in-app purchases. Now that would have me and every magazine publisher immediately taking notice.

Running Before It Can Walk?

So, I’m struggling. I can’t see what advantage an AppPresser app brings over the original website, especially when the app is an additional step or 4 after you’ve built the original site.

Perhaps the advantage is for those with a more than passing acquaintance with PhoneGap, who can write their own extensions but then that goes against the if “you know how to make a website in WordPress” claim. I can make a website in WordPress but I haven’t a clue when it comes PhoneGap.

My feeling, though, is that AppPresser has tried to run before it can walk.

Screenshot of 3 of the extensions
The extensions library is woefully small

The extensions library is woefully small and left me wondering if it was driven by the desire to find a method to charge for the PhoneGap build files rather than providing additional functionality. Given that none of the extensions nor the AppPresser Theme are required to build an app, why not sell the build files separately?

In fact, why not give the build files away with the AppPresser plugin and let people play with the basic product. That model, of give away the core and generate revenue from extensions, themes and support, has been a huge success for WooCommerce and seen them build an enormous user base. So, why not do the same?

Incidentally, I bought the AppPresser Theme. It may be a great framework for building a mobile app but with a single page of documentation its use is limited without perhaps wading through the code. This makes the $99 price tag excessive, even if it does come with the build files and 1 year’s support.

Not All Doom And Gloom

Screenshot of the e-commerce bundle
The bundles show a lot of promise
Despite all this, I still think that AppPresser has promise. The e-commerce bundle probably shows the pathway for the non-developers like me. Complete solutions that can be installed and configured easily to produce great looking apps (and web apps too?).

No doubt as the AppPresser user base grows then the marketplace for solutions and themes will also grow and convenience may loom as a major advantage.

And, if I absolutely had to build an app and if time was not an issue, then I would be inclined to use AppPresser over the alternatives simply because of the level of control AppPresser gives you over the look and feel.

At the moment, though, I’d still be advocating hard for a web app over a mobile app.

UPDATE: AppPresser have responded to this post on their own blog with a post that seeks to clarify “what it does and why it is different”.

Have you used AppPresser? What do you think? What am I not seeing about this product that has had people raving about it? I am genuinely interested, so please let me know in the comments.

29 Responses

  • Flash Drive

    I find myself in agreement here. I too, have looked over the AppPresser site and wondered just what it gives me over and above a website in a browser.
    Then we have my concern which is raised by the WooPresser or AppWoo or whatever they called their WooCommerce thing: for an Android app I see no issues; however if you’re releasing under the iTunes App Store then you’re in for a lot of trouble if Apple take more than a cursory look at your app. The reason for this is that Apple require that all purchases made via apps be made through Apple’s in-app purchase system. The ruling goes something like “if the user is brought to the purchase by apple then apple take 30%. if the user purchases outside the apple ecosystem then you keep the lot.”
    So if the user purchases via a website in a browser then you keep the whole purchase price. If, however, you package your store into an app (as AppPresser does) then you MUST give Apple a 30% cut, which means using Apple’s payment processing and not PayPal or whatever payment processor you have set in WooCommerce usually.

  • New Recruit

    @Daniel Llewellyn You are 100% incorrect regarding your WooCommerce example. I make purchases via Amazon’s app, eBay’s app, REI’s app, Zappos app, GoDaddy’s app, Fandango’s app and none of them utilize Apple’s in app purchases. Apple does not require all purchases are made via Apple’s in-app purchase system. I make purchases all the time via Apple approved iOS apps that do not utilize in-app purchases. It only applies to certain types of purchases and functionality. You should really educate yourself on these things before commenting on them.

    @ChrisKnowles You are missing the point. This isn’t about making an app version of your web site. This is about making an app. There’s a big difference between the other services you referenced as AppPressor competition and what AppPressor itself does. The others are glorified RSS feed readers that suck in your content and spit it out in a template you’ve chosen or customized via the service. AppPressor allows you to use WordPress as a platform to create your app leveraging your existing WordPress development knowledge to do so. You can’t leverage WooCommerce to create an ecommerce iPhone app with any of the services you referenced as AppPressor competition because it’s not something they do.

    There are a variety of ways to create native iOS and Android apps. You either go with pure native code and write it in Objective-C or you write it in something like C# using an IDE like Xamarin to compile it into native code OR you create it as a web site and use tools like PhoneGap, etc. AppPressor is like PhoneGap only it allows you to leverage WordPress development knowledge and the WordPress platform to create your application so there are a lot of things you won’t have to do from scratch such as creating a user system, etc.

    You seem to not be able to get past the fact that it uses WordPress under the hood and can’t separate that from what WordPress is used from a blogging stand point. All those “Alternatives” you claim to do what AppPressor does speak to that. They are all geared towards making a native app for a site that is content driven such as a blog, etc.

    AppPressor isn’t about that. It’s about creating any type of app you want. An ecommerce app so you can be like Amazon, Zappos, eBay, etc. that allows you to make purchases via their own native app (Without having to use in-app purchases despite what @DanielLlewellyn may assume) or it could be just about anything you want. It speaks to WordPress capabilities to be used as an application platform to build just about anything you want.

    It’s obvious by your comparisons that you don’t understand what AppPressor’s role is because if you did you wouldn’t be comparing it to services such as UppSite, Mobiloud, etc.

    AppPressor isn’t about taking your existing WordPress blog and turning it into an iPhone and/or Android app.

    It’s about using WordPress to develop a custom iPhone and/or Android app.

    There is a distinction between those two things. If you don’t see it, you probably shouldn’t be writing about it and should do more research. Maybe reach out to the people at AppPressor and talk to them before writing about something you clearly don’t fully understand.

    • The final app runs a WP site using the theme selected and has a few – very few – built-in smarts to bring in PhoneGap functionality.

      How is that is not running a website in a mobile app?

      Rather than the ad hominem attacks, the constant references to blogs and blogging, and the harping on about Mobiloud, etc (I was pretty clear in the other article that these plugins only come into play in a certain scenario), explain to me why, after spending all that time developing an application on the WordPress platform, I would take the extra steps and turn it into an app?

      What does the mobile app give me that the web app doesn’t other than a presence in an app store?

      Really, explain it to me because I’m getting accused of missing the point but all I’m getting back is marketing spiel about building any app you want, leveraging this and that and “you don’t understand”.

      So, help me understand. Explain to me, what advantages the mobile app has over the web app, because, saying you can leverage device specific functionality when there are only two extensions that do that and both can be achieved in a web app, doesn’t cut it.

      As far as I can see, AppPresser is not enabling you to build any app you want. AppPresser is enabling you to deliver to mobile devices any app you can build on WordPress together with a limited number of extensions. That’s two very different scenarios, isn’t it?

      Of course, I can’t get away from the fact that it uses WordPress under the hood because, well, it is using WordPress under the hood. And no, that doesn’t mean that I automatically think that it must be a blog.

      And yes, I do know that AppPresser is a different beast to the other services but, here’s the thing, the marketing says that if you can build a website in WordPress you can build an app.

      That encompasses a vastly bigger audience than say those who use WordPress as a development platform. So, if AppPresser are going to go for this bigger audience (which would include a great deal of our audience) then they’ve got to expect that many would be doing exactly what you say AppPresser isn’t designed for, turning websites (not just blogs) into websites and will be just as perplexed as me.

      Whenever I review, I never approach the vendors beforehand. I didn’t do it with the theme builders, I didn’t do it with the mobile app builders and I didn’t do with AppPresser. Why? Because I want to give an unbiased opinion to our readers in a scenario as close to their own as possible.

      Now, that undoubtedly means I’ll get things wrong and I’m always up front about that. I was in this article. But that’s the potential beauty of comments: the opportunity to correct and educate and round out the debate.

      • New Recruit

        @Chris Knowles “The final app runs a WP site using the theme selected and has a few – very few – built-in smarts to bring in PhoneGap functionality. How is that is not running a website in a mobile app?”

        I never said it was. What I said is there’s a difference between making an app version of your web site and making an app. And there is.

        AppPresser doesn’t need to be used to create an app for an existing WordPress powered web site. It can be used to create an entirely new app that may not even have a publicly accessible web site via a desktop browser. It may only exist in it’s final iOS or Android app form.

        The tools you referenced are simply designed to create an app out of your existing web site. AppPresser is designed to create apps which may having nothing to do with an existing web site and with functionality simply spitting out RSS in a nicely formatted UI.

        @Chris Knowles “Rather than the ad hominem attacks, the constant references to blogs and blogging, and the harping on about Mobiloud, etc (I was pretty clear in the other article that these plugins only come into play in a certain scenario), explain to me why, after spending all that time developing an application on the WordPress platform, I would take the extra steps and turn it into an app? What does the mobile app give me that the web app doesn’t other than a presence in an app store?”

        Why? Because responsive design alone isn’t always the answer. As a user I prefer native apps for services that I use that may also serve up mobile versions of their service. It’s really difficult to explain the why’s considering the use cases vary so greatly. Not everything I can do using Amazon’s iPhone app I can do on their web site and vice versa. The mobile app is geared towards how it will be used in the context of mobile.

        As for what does the mobile app give you that the web app doesn’t other than a presence in an app store? I’d say you answered one of the major reasons in your question. A presence in the app store for an application is very important for the success of an iPhone or Android mobile app.

        My iPhone has 2 and a half home screens worth of apps including numerous folders for organizing said apps within those 2 and a half home screens. You want to know how many of those are web apps that i’ve used Safari’s “Add to Home Screen” functionality to make it into a “Web App” on my iPhone? ZERO. None.

        The average user has been trained to install apps via the corresponding app store. Even if it’s via a link on a marketing site they visit via the mobile browser. They click on it, then install the app via the App Store or Google Play. Done.

        Does Amazon have a mobile optimized web site? Yep. Do they have an app in the app store too? Yep. Facebook? Yep. Twitter? Yep. Zappos? Yep. Do you want to ask them the “What does the mobile app give me that the web app doesn’t other than a presence in an app store?” question?

        @Chris Knowles “As far as I can see, AppPresser is not enabling you to build any app you want. AppPresser is enabling you to deliver to mobile devices any app you can build on WordPress together with a limited number of extensions. That’s two very different scenarios, isn’t it?”

        Two very different scenarios?

        A. Enables you to deliver to mobile devices an app you build with WordPress.

        B. Enables you to build any app you want.

        I would say those are not two very different scenarios considering you can use WordPress to accomplish B. That’s the entire point. Leverage WordPress to build the application instead of having to do it entirely using Object-C native code.

        @Chris Knowles “I do know that AppPresser is a different beast to the other services but, here’s the thing, the marketing says that if you can build a website in WordPress you can build an app. That encompasses a vastly bigger audience than say those who use WordPress as a development platform. So, if AppPresser are going to go for this bigger audience (which would include a great deal of our audience) then they’ve got to expect that many would be doing exactly what you say AppPresser isn’t designed for, turning websites (not just blogs) into websites and will be just as perplexed as me.”

        It’s marketing says if you can build a web site in WordPress you can build an app. How is that misrepresenting what AppPresser does when that is exactly what it does? It allows you to build an app using WordPress that is then wrapped in a native application wrapper so it can be compiled as a native app and made available in the app store.

        Are you going to be able to build anything you want with no coding knowledge whatsoever? OF COURSE NOT. No more than you can build anything you want with WordPress with no coding knowledge whatsoever.

        I think you have expectations that AppPresser is going to do ALL of the work for you and that isn’t the case. If the existing tools they provide aren’t sufficient for the type of app you want to build then that’s where you have to roll up your sleeve and build the functionality that you need.

        It’s no different than Gravity Forms providing functionality and a user needing it to do something it doesn’t do out of the box so they build their own custom Add-On that does what they need.

        Do you think every native app in Apple’s App Store is 100% Object-C native code? Far from it. Even Facebook’s iPhone app was a web app in a native wrapper for a long time. What AppPresser does is give you the ability to do exactly this.

        They state on their site:

        Do I need coding skills?
        If you use one of our pre-made app bundles, like the woocommerce app, you are not required to code anything.

        Can I make any type of app I want?
        Technically you can do anything with an AppPresser app that you can do with Phonegap. That means if you are handy with javascript, the sky is the limit! If you are not a developer, you might want to stick to the pre-made products we have for sale. We are working hard to bring you more easy to use app features as soon as we can.

        Which is what I explained above. It doesn’t promise that it’s going to handle all the heavy lifting for you.

        “Whenever I review, I never approach the vendors beforehand. I didn’t do it with the theme builders, I didn’t do it with the mobile app builders and I didn’t do with AppPresser. Why? Because I want to give an unbiased opinion to our readers in a scenario as close to their own as possible.”

        Maybe you should at least ask the vendor some questions about the product to clarify exactly what it’s use case is who it’s target market is. You seem to make the assumption that it would allow you to create any kind of iOS app you want. Which it can. But it doesn’t necessarily mean someone with no coding skills is going to be able to create whatever they want. See the two FAQ answers and questions just above this taken directly from the AppPresser site.

  • Flash Drive

    @rocketgenius, yes I was wrong.

    I’ve just re-reviewed the ios development programme standard terms document (https://developer.apple.com/programs/terms/ios/standard/ios_program_standard_agreement_20130610.pdf) which lists the terms of in-app purchases in “Attachment 2” which clearly state that purchases for products for use outside of the app must NOT use the in-app purchase system contrary to my prior belief.
    I was confused by the “subscriptions” clause, or rather commentary about the clause, (Attachment 2 clause 2.3) which requires that subs purchased through the app must use the in-app purchase system and are subject to the 70/30 split, but subs purchased outside the app can still be utilised within the app without additional purchase requirements or reimbursement to Apple.

    Despite this admission of my incorrect statements above, I was offended by the tone of your responses which I felt were unnecessarily adversarial in nature and likely to provoke conflict.

  • New Recruit

    I have been using WordPress as a Development Framework for Apps for about 2 years now. I think the gap between a reliable api-based development framework and a good decent front-end is still out there to be filled. You have options for some json-api approaches to wordpress but it’s still lacks as far as security, as much as I can tell.

    Using a mobile-theme or front-end structure in order to wrap it around cordova/phonegap is not so complicated when compared to structuring the backend side of it.

    I don’t think it’ll ever be as easy as drag and drop but wordpress has a lot of potential of becoming an incredible development framework to supply admin management and neat backend plugins for apps. I mean, I believe it so much that I’ve been coding my way through for years now hoping it’ll get better and easier and more and more people will get hooked on the idea of it. WordPress is far more than websites, you can design entire web-systems that are reliable and easy to maintain for the end-user…

    • WordPress as a development framework certainly seems to be a strong focus at the moment.

      So have you used AppPresser to deliver your apps as a native mobile device?

      Or are you suggesting that perhaps the perfect combination would be a WordPress back-end coupled with a front-end purpose-built in one of the more traditional mobile app frameworks?

      • New Recruit

        As much as I would love to see a good solid solution that would combine the front-end I don’t think that’s quite possible today. I think that WordPress is a solid back-end solution and that the front-end needs to be taken care by specific front-end frameworks.

        Being able to use wordpress admin as a “data-management interface” really allows me to bring a lot of the so called bits and bytes to a more user- friendly level, giving perhaps a not so tech-y user the power to review the data that is flowing through his app and have him interact with an environment he is already used to (wordpress admin panel).

        A lot of clients want to be able to at least see what’s going on in their app and using wordpress to provide that information makes it so much faster and easier for them to dive in.

        As far as the front-end it’s still not quite there. I am all in for web app but a lot of times to reach your target public you still do need an app-store or google play or whatever else, appearance and there’s no running from that.

        Maybe it’ll change in a few years but right now, you can’t really explain to your public that they have to hit the “add to home” button to add your webapp to their screen; we can argue if there are solutions that make it easier (addToHome.css, etc..) but the final experience is still not the same as hitting the ‘download app’ button from the store itself…

        • And that’s possibly the crux of the web app versus mobile app debate, isn’t it?

          That end-users are so familiar and comfortable with the discovery and management of native apps that you need to be on that platform regardless of whether there’s any technical or feature benefit.

          And that’s where I see the benefit in AppPresser. If you are already building a web app and you feel that you need to cover your bases then it’s a quick, easy and cost-effective route to creating that native app.

          • New Recruit

            “And that’s where I see the benefit in AppPresser. If you are already building a web app and you feel that you need to cover your bases then it’s a quick, easy and cost-effective route to creating that native app.”

            Exactly.

            BUT that isn’t it’s only use case. It can also be used by someone that is just building a mobile app and who won’t have a web app that’s accessible from the desktop.

            The web site for the app could just be a marketing site for the mobile app.

            Someone that doesn’t know Objective-C but is well versed in WordPress development and PHP wouldn’t have to bang their heads against a desk learning Objective-C and could leverage their existing knowledge to create the app.

            Objective-C can be very daunting for someone that doesn’t have experience with more advanced programming languages than PHP. Hell, it can be very daunting for some programmers that do have more experience with other programming languages.

            AppPresser isn’t all that different from what Xamarin’s goal is. Xamarin is an IDE that allows programmers to create iOS, Android and Mac apps using C#. Yea, Microsoft’s C#. It then compiles the code into a native app.

            Like Xamarin, AppPresser allows WordPress developers to do the same. Leverage their existing knowledge to build something they otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do themselves.

    • New Recruit

      This is not API based iOS/Android development.

      It’s allowing WordPress developers to leverage their existing PHP and WordPress knowledge to build mobile apps. It provides tools such as PhoneGap and handles compiling the finished product so that it can then be made available in the App Store or the Google Play store.

      It’s a native wrapper for a web site that allows you to access native functionality that a mobile optimized web site that you browse in Safari and not as it’s own app would not allow you to do.

      It also means that you can roll out changes to the app by simply changing the web site that is actually powering the app behind the scenes without requiring an app update on the device.

      Many native mobile apps use this model even though they may appear to be completely native apps.

      You can do api-based development with WordPress but you’d want to create the api yourself. We’ve done it ourselves for our own product and we have a native application that is functional that is a 100% native app that pulls in data via an api from a WordPress web site running our product.

      • New Recruit

        I get that. I just haven’t seen any good solutions out there for this. I mean AppPresser is an option but clearly still has some limitation with it;

        and I’m not quite sure how much Apple will allow apps that are just wrappers to be approved. I have seen a bazillion discussions back and forth about it and it doesn’t seem to have a consensus with it or a general rule as far as what is allowed in or not…

        • New Recruit

          It depends entirely on what you are trying to do. It also depends on what you’re skill set is and what your resources are.

          In our case, we can’t use a solution like AppPresser because we are creating a mobile app that interacts with YOUR site. Not ours. Different situation. AppPresser isn’t the solution for what we’re doing.

          As for Apple allowing apps that are just wrappers… of course they aren’t going to allow you to simply take your existing web site and make a simple wrapper for it and call it a native app and submit it to the app store. That’s not what this is about.

          What AppPresser is about is producing apps that look like they are native mobile apps and not web sites that also take advantage of built in functionality such as the camera, location services, etc. where appropriate.

          There are a large number of very well known apps that use this setup. Do you think all the apps in the app store are pure Object-C native apps? Far from it.

          For a long time Facebook was a web app with a native wrapper. They did eventually create a 100% native app.

          Netflix is another example of an iPhone app that is actually a web app that uses a native wrapper.

          It’s not unusual because when done right the end user doesn’t even know and assumes it’s 100% native.

  • New Recruit

    Thought I’d just add a section of an email I just sent to an unhappy AP owner to help explain some of this a bit better:

    “… I have to be honest, from a ‘boss’ perspective I was pretty upset with the product… first up I was looking for apps for my local football club (that I run the site of, voluntarily) and of course yours was the first that came to mind, but after initial purchase and half (or more) a day of Chris’s time, to discover that the end result neither looked any good nor (more importantly) served the sole reason I wanted an App for the club (push notifications)… I was pretty annoyed.

    So, what we thought would be a real test of whether ap did knock socks off the opposition (and believe me, we would have said so if it did) didn’t turn out that well… in fact Chris was a lot more balanced and considered than I was about 3PM yesterday I can tell ya.

    I hope this helps explain where we are at, maybe we got the wrong end of the stick as to what the product was (if we did tho, that’s the marketing behind it that got us there), maybe we missed some important stuff, but at the end of the day we’re just trying to help our readers and users to whom we wouldn’t, at the moment, recommend ap.”

    I mean, no push functionality, sheesh… isn’t that daft in a product that is supposed to be built on top of a CMS.

    Chris isn’t being adversarial or uninformed (the blog crew leave that up to me as a rule ;), he’s being honest and talking from experience.

    And I have also offered AP the opportunity to respond or debate this right here too (pending editorial of course)… so watch this space!

    • New Recruit

      @James Farmer “So, what we thought would be a real test of whether ap did knock socks off the opposition (and believe me, we would have said so if it did) didn’t turn out that well… in fact Chris was a lot more balanced and considered than I was about 3PM yesterday I can tell ya.”

      The opposition? Who is the opposition exactly? Because the services he referenced are not the opposition. So if the expectation were to use AppPresser to do what you assumed was the opposition does, the hands on demo was doomed from the start. They cater to a completely different use case than AppPresser does and are far simpler by design because they aren’t catering to developers at all.

      The true opposition of AppPresser is building it entirely yourself using PhoneGap and handling compiling the native app, etc. on your own. Or using a hosted service that does do what AppPresser does but they handle releasing the app into the app store and charge you based on usage, etc. The competition you referenced didn’t include one of these solutions. But most of the services i’m referring to cater to magazines and not general purpose apps.

      @James Farmer “I mean, no push functionality, sheesh… isn’t that daft in a product that is supposed to be built on top of a CMS.”

      No push notifications? Holy shit?!

      Sounds like the Facebook app before it finally added push notifications. Or the Twitter app before it finally added push notifications or hell the GMail app before it finally added push notifications.

      None of those apps had push notifications when they initially launched and some of them took quite a while until it was added as a feature. And yes i’m referring to these app after Apple had launched the push notification capabilities.

      I could go on because many apps have launched without them and many apps still don’t have them.

      We’re talking about a brand new v1.0 product. Did every plugin that WPMUDEV sells do everything they do right out of the gate? I know that our product certainly did not.

      Push Notifications are one of the most complex and difficult aspects of creating an iOS app because it’s not something that is trivial. It requires registering the service with Apple on top of reliability concerns, etc. This is why many app developers forego setting up their own push notification service and instead use API’s that exist to handle sending the push notifications.

      But those API’s are not free and have to be factored into the cost of a solution like AppPresser given you can’t forecast usage. Especially when you first make a product like this available.

      I have no doubt that the people at AppPresser have plans for how they are going to offer notification functionality.

      It’s a brand new product. Give the damn thing some time to mature and evolve. They’ve only just begun.

      • New Recruit

        I was gonna say if AP is just a wrapper why not then build it entirely yourself using PhoneGap and handling compiling the native app, etc. on your own. I guess you used my words there =)

        But if you’re looking at a fast prototype (MVP – minimum viable product) you would need a quicker solution and that’s where AP would have some sort of market share to go after. I also can understand having a 1.0 product out and having to compete with other solutions that have been out for much longer or that have much more investment behind them.

        One solution that AP could have would be integration options so that you can bundle up with other services. You’re using AP to wrap it all up but you can use a push server from somewhere else, and so on and so on…

        • New Recruit

          @paulovieira “I was gonna say if AP is just a wrapper why not then build it entirely yourself using PhoneGap and handling compiling the native app, etc. on your own. I guess you used my words there =)”

          Because that then requires the WordPress developer to learn PhoneGap and hoe to properly build and compile it themselves. AppPresser handles this for them.

          It’s not just for fast prototyping. While it could be used for fast prototyping, there’s no reason why it couldn’t be used in production. If WordPress development is what you’re good at, there’s no reason why you can’t make WordPress do what you want it to do and use AppPresser to turn it into a native app for you.

          As I mentioned in another comment, there are a lot of apps in the app store that are actually web apps within a native wrapper and the end user doesn’t even know nor do they care as long as it works.

          I agree on the integrations and i’m sure the product will mature and evolve over time. But there’s nothing preventing the WordPress developer from integrating with existing 3rd party services via their API and PHP via a WordPress plugin that they write.

          • New Recruit

            @paulovieira Not all WordPress developers know how to do this on their own. Most don’t.

            If you know how to use cordova or phonegap and how to compile the native wrapper yourself then maybe it’s not for you.

            But even if you do know how to do it, you may find it’s current and future app-bundles speed up development.

            One good example is ecommerce. If you’re going to build an ecommerce mobile app it’s probably going to save you a hell of a lot of time to use AppPresser and their WooCommerce extension than to create it yourself.

            The smartest developers don’t always do it all themselves even though they can do it all themselves. Time is valuable. If you can leverage tools that allow you to work quicker then the expense is well worth it.

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    I’ve been looking at AppPresser for a week now as a potential solution for a project I’m working on and from the outside everything Chris has said makes sense.

    The marketing copy and @rocketgenius are giving these grand claims but no documentation on how to achieve it. It sounds like it’s either not yet possible with the software or is simply not documented which misleads potential customers especially when you can’t try anything out before shelling out cash.

    I spoke with one of AppPressers support team via email and he advised that push notifications are coming but couldn’t give me a rough date.

    • New Recruit

      Did you read their FAQ because it pretty much sums it up. It can be found here: http://apppresser.com/faq/

      The two questions that are directly relevant are…

      “Do I need coding skills?
      If you use one of our pre-made app bundles, like the woocommerce app, you are not required to code anything.”

      “Can I make any type of app I want?
      Technically you can do anything with an AppPresser app that you can do with Phonegap. That means if you are handy with javascript, the sky is the limit! If you are not a developer, you might want to stick to the pre-made products we have for sale. We are working hard to bring you more easy to use app features as soon as we can.”

      AppPresser isn’t a silver bullet. It’s not going to allow you to point and click your way into creating ANY kind of mobile app you want. What it does do is allow you to use WordPress to build any kind of mobile app you want.

      If what you want to do can be done with AppPresser’s built in functionality and available pre-made app bundles then you won’t need to implement any custom code.

      But that isn’t going to cover every use case so if you want to build an app that AppPresser doesn’t have a pre-made app bundle for… you’re going to have to roll up your sleeves and write code OR customize one of their available pre-made app bundles to make it do what you want it to do.

      It’s no different than creating a WordPress site. WordPress doesn’t do everything. You use plugins and themes to make it do what you want. AppPresser is no different. The exception being it let’s you then take what you’ve built and turn it into an app that can be made available via the iOS or Android app stores.

      But anyone who has expectations that it will magically let you create any kind of mobile app you want just by pointing and clicking is going to be disappointed. Those are unrealistic expectations and NOT what AppPresser is marketing.

    • New Recruit

      Cordova is like Phonegap. AppPresser uses Phonegap and you can leverage the Phonegap API when creating custom code within your app.

      So what benefits are there to using AppPresser over Cordova or simply using Phonegap yourself?

      It’s a service to help make it easier for WordPress developers to create mobile apps.

      Ease of use. Speed. Not having to write all the code yourself. Being able to leverage functionality provided by the current and future AppPresser app-bundles. Not having to know how to compile a native wrapper app that interacts with a web app.

      For some users that may mean little to no code. For other users that may mean having to write a lot of code. It depends entirely on what you are trying to do.

      AppPresser then handles building and compiling your app so that it can then be submitted to the appropriate app store. So it also simplifies this step in the process.

      If you already know Cordova, how to compile the native application, etc. then go ahead and do it yourself.

      But the things they are doing with app-bundles for functionality such as WooCommerce integration to create an ecommerce mobile app would mean even less work if that’s the type of app you plan on building.

      So even in a situation where you could use Cordova and do it all yourself, you may find current and future app-bundles they provide helpful or may find it just makes getting started and handling compiling the finished app easier than having to deal with it yourself.

      • We agree on something!

        The real value of AppPresser to the majority of the audience that its marketing appears to be targeting, is in the bundles.

        That’s when it takes off, when there’s a shelf of near-complete solutions ready for even, perhaps, those who “only know about blogging” to buy, install and configure in a familiar environment, and build a native app with.

  • Design Lord, Child of Thor

    My issue is still that the documentation doesn’t give any information on how to get started using any of those phonegap features and get them working with my wordpress site. Short of purchasing the geo/camera apppresser plugins and reverse engineering them into other phonegap functions I’m completely in the dark as a user.

    • New Recruit

      AppPresser’s use of PhoneGap is no different than WordPress and jQuery. You won’t find documentation for how to do whatever you want with jQuery in the WordPress codex because the jQuery web site itself provides all the documentation on how to use jQuery and jQuery UI.

      If you want to create custom functionality using PhoneGap that is outside the scope of what AppPresser providers out of the box or via its available bundles/extensions than you’d have to write code that leverages the PhoneGap API that is built I to AppPresser.

      Their FAQ page mentions if you want to implement custom code leveraging PhoneGap you’ll need to reference the PhoneGap API documentation and provides a link the the PhoneGap documentation which can be found here:

      http://docs.phonegap.com/en/3.1.0/

      As far as how to implement the code, it’s no different than implementing any WordPress customization using JavaScript, etc.

      But as the AppPresser FAQ also mentions, if you are creating an app using functionality outside the scope of their available bundles then you are going to need to know how to develop that functionality yourself. You’d need to know PHP and JavaScript along with how to properly develop for WordPress.

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