Did you ever wondered if you can create a native app of your WordPress site by yourself, even when you have no programming skill at all?. The short answer is, yes you can. But, how?
There are so many useful plugins available in the WordPress plugin repository which can fix your problem. As usual, all you need to do is install the plugin and make some settings to make it run how it supposed to be.
Back to our topic. If you wish to create a native app of your WordPress-based site — no matter it’s Android app or iPhone app — you can also rely on WordPress plugin. So, you don’t have to write the app by your self, at all.
There are some choices of plugins which you can use to transform your WordPress contents to a mobile app. Sadly, most of them require you to pay some dollars. But, don’t worry. If you just want to make a test, there is a plugin which lets you creating a native app without having to pay anything. The name is Worona. Today I am going to show you to use the plugin.
Before getting started, there are two points you have to note:
- The app you created may not works on iPhone.
- The app will not be published to Play Store or App Store.
Ready? Here we go.
- Login to your WordPress dashboard and go to Plugins –> Add New. Search for “Worona” and click the Install Now button. Don’t forget to activate it immediately once it’s installed.
- You will have a new menu called Worona in the WordPress dashboard. Go for it and choose Admin
- You will see 4 steps to do. If you still using older WordPress than version of 4.7.3, you will need to install REST API plugin first before stepping to the step 3 and step 4. Don’t worry it’s extremely ease. Just like when you installing a regular plugin. In my case, I use WordPress version 4.7.3 so I can skip the step 1 and to 2.
- Once done with the step 1 and step 2, jump to step 3 by clicking the Register button to create a Worona account and get the Site ID.
- You will be directed to the Worona dashboard page. Click the Add Site button to add a new site.
- Type the URL of your site and give it a name. Click Add Site
- Here you are. You will be brought to a dashboard page where you can manage your app. You will also be able to see the live preview of your upcoming app via a virtual iPhone at the right side. Currently, you only have one theme option. But, you can change the default color by going to Starter Theme menu. You will also have two other options. Just be sure to click the Save button every time you make a change.
- Now please click the App Store & Google Play link to publish your app.
- You can set the splash screen and the app icon at the Icon section. For a better appearance you are suggested to add an image with at least 1024x1024px resolution. It’s will be better to use your logo. You can see the live preview of the splash screen and app icon on the Step 2 within the page.
- Now you can go to the Step 3 to publish your app.
There are two ways of how you can publish your app to Play Store and App Store. You can choose whether you want to publish your app by yourself, or prefer trust it to Worona. If you want Worona to publish your app you need to pay for $311. Otherwise, if you want to publish your app by yourself you need to register to both Google Developer Account and Apple Developer Account (if you want to provide your app in Android and iPhone), with the following price.
- Google Developer Account – $25 (one time)
- Apple Developer Account – $99 per year.
What if you want to publish your app for free?. Just for testing, for instance. That’s the point of this article. Worona also make it possible to generate an .apk file in order to be installed on your Android device.
- On the Step 3, click the Download button. Firstly, your app will be downloaded as a .zip file. You need to compile it to turn to an .apk file.
- Visit Phonegap Build to compile the .zip file of your app. Login with your account or register if haven’t had one.
- Click the Upload a .zip file button to generate a new app.
- Select the .zip file you have downloaded and click the Ready to build button.
- Once the building process has done, click on your app name.
- To test the app on Android, click the apk button (rightmost) to download the .apk file of your app. What about iPhone? iPhone — which use Apple’s iOS — requires setting up a developer certificate and provisioning profile before you can install the app on your device – that’s why it shows the red warning box.
How to install on Android?
Once you downloaded the .apk file of your app to your computer you can transfer it to your Android device and follow these steps to install.
- Open the file by tapping on it. You will have a “Install blocked” alert. Don’t worry, this is the default alert when you install an Android app from other source instead of Play Store. Just tap the Settings button and check the Unknown sources and tap OK.
- Tap the Next button. And finally, tap Install button to install your app to your Android device.
Congratulation! You have done creating a native app of your WordPress site!
If you want to see how your app will looks like, you can download our demo and install it to your Android device.