WordPress for PWAs
Utilizing WordPress to deliver the needed mobile responsiveness across platforms.
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WordPress for Progressive Web Applications


WordPress as a Mobile Application Framework

Building a basic mobile application with WordPress can be significantly faster and cheaper than the traditional custom mobile app development route. It also provides you with two options for deploying it – PWA or Native Apps. QAT Global enables you to fast track your app development using WordPress Core, plugins, custom development, and integration with key services that provide common types of functionality. The WordPress framework can be used with either type of end product and can help avoid the lengthy and expensive process customary with native application development.

If your WordPress-based mobile app is a success with your target audience, you’ll have insight into what features your users’ desire. You can then decide if you want to invest further by having QAT Global add new functionality to the WordPress-based app, develop a custom PWA, or build a native app for you. Making further development decisions is easier once your idea has been market-proven.

Progressive Web Apps Built with WordPress

PWAs are experiences that combine the best of the web and the best of mobile apps. New web APIs allow QAT Global to build progressive web apps using WordPress that close the native versus PWA gap. These APIs enable PWAs to provide a full native app-like experience by providing access to device-specific capabilities. PWAs are growing in popularity with businesses and users as they don’t require complex installation steps, will work on any browser type, and are considered safe due secure HTTPS delivery.

One of the significant benefits of PWAs is that they are indexable in search engines, so discoverability of more specialized apps is easier for users as compared to discovery in the app stores. QAT Global can also work with you to develop and execute a solid SEO strategy that can deliver a solid user base for a PWA on a reasonably small marketing budget.

How do we know that a web app is progressive?

Whether or not your mobile web app is progressive is not a “yes or no” answer – it’s more of a score. In fact, a Chrome plugin called Lighthouse generates a report with all PWA capabilities and helps you measure your score and let you know what you need to change in order to become fully progressive. 

WordPress PWA Capabilities

The PWA capabilities of WordPress have greatly expanded recently. WordPress now supports the full spectrum of traditional PWA functionality including:

  • Ability to work offline or with poor network connection

  • Discoverable from any browser or in an app store (if submitted)

  • Can send Push Notifications to users, even when the browser is closed or offline using service workers

  • Users can save the app to their homescreen for quick access

  • Responsive on any device and from any browser

  • Use an app shell architecture similar to native apps, that loads instantly for users

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What are WordPress Service Workers?

A WordPress ‘Service Worker’ is essentially a script that enables your PWA to integrate aspects of native web apps. Typically it is written in JavaScript and enables you to decide how to respond to resource requests. Caching reduces the need for consistent internet connection and provides a reliable user experience capable of push notifications and synchronizing data in the background.

How QAT Global Creates WordPress Based PWAs

WordPress Web App Themes

QAT Global can utilize a web app theme to enable WordPress to act as a PWA without having to code functionality from scratch. These themes are often fully-featured and offer high-levels of flexibility and power for your PWA.

WordPress Web App

QAT Global experts integrate various WordPress plugins to help you create and add additional functionality to your site to make it a Progressive Web App. These operate on a smaller scale and usually only let you implement basic features such as ‘Add to Home Screen’ prompts, web app manifest, push notifications, and basic caching. However, this can still make a dramatic change to how you WordPress website behaves.

Manual Development of WordPress PWAs

Manual development of a WordPress PWA, despite being less costly than other types of mobile development, requires a considerable amount of coding knowledge and developers who know their way around the prevalent Javascript frameworks and libraries, such as Angular and React. If you want more flexibility and advanced functionality features, manual development may be the way to go, and QAT Global’s custom development experts can help.

Additional Methods for Utilizing WordPress With Your Mobile App

Using WordPress as a Back-end for Your Web API

One other approach QAT Global takes to using WordPress to create PWAs is to use the platform as a back-end for the project. WordPress already provides the necessary tools to create custom fields, post types, and store relevant information. WordPress can be used to process all of the data your app requires and another front-end solution can be selected to create a custom mobile web app experience.

We integrate reliable plugins such as Pods and Advanced Custom Fields to extend WordPress’ database structure and to better meet the needs of your particular web app. From there, APIs can be used for custom data retrieval. With WordPress, there are various options for powering your application’s front-end. For example, you might use the REST API to connect to a JavaScript library such as Node or AngularJS.

QAT Global’s approach of separating the applications back-end framework from the front-end client enables us to create scalable apps that give you maximum flexibility during development. Also, building an MVP becomes much simpler.

Using WordPress Web App Plugins to Create Native Apps

QAT Global can also utilize one of several plugins to help you develop a native web app. These plugins enable QAT Global to “transform” a WordPress site into a native PWA. These plugins support the creation of simple web apps and provide a quick way to get you started with an app such as an online store, blog, and more.

QAT Global experts use optimized templates and personalized settings to create a user experience (UX) that feels more native to mobile devices.

Examples of these types of WordPress Plugins include:

  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/apppresser/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/wpappninja/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/mobiloud-mobile-app-plugin/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/mobapper/
  • https://wordpress.org/plugins/ideapress-json-api/

The client wanted to develop an employee portal for their staff located around the globe. A custom WordPress-based solution was selected that supported all of the initial requirements and offered support for future wish list requirements and enabled the company to deliver the solution as a progressive web application (PWA).

Read the Case Study