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How to make an Android app that links to a website?

Android is the premier mobile operating system in the world. This is one of the main reasons businesses invest time and capital into Android app development​. There is no other platform that promises as wide a reach as Android.

The main challenge here is the actual app development process . Making an app is fairly expensive and extremely complicated. Companies generally have to make a choice between hiring a team of developers or outsourcing the job to a development agency. Tools like AppMySite however have made it easier to create an app for Android and iOS with DIY-app making options.

Not all businesses need a mobile app that has phenomenal features and functions. Some only require a simple app that conveys necessary information to the end user.

In fact, many small businesses with a great website look for ways to create an Android app that simply displays a mobile version of a webpage. This represents one of the more common demands in the app development space.

In this blog

  1. Why Android development?
  1. How does displaying a webpage inside an app help?
  2. Web view apps – An Introduction
  3. Creating webview apps with AppMySite – A guide
  1. Build a web view app. Provide native app experience
  2. What are the benefits of Android app development for my business?
  3. Frequently asked questions

Why Android Development?

Building an Android app is generally seen as a natural step on mobile app development. Here are a few reasons you should go for Android development.

1) Availability of powerful Android development tools and systems

Android is an open-source operating system, which is why there are many tools and systems that facilitate Android development. AppMySite for example enables you to create Android apps without writing a single line of code. Similarly, many other DIY tools power you to create Android apps.

All you need to do is sign up for a tool and get started with Android development for your business.

2) Ubiquity of Android devices

In terms of marketshare, Android is far ahead of iOS. Two-thirds of smartphone devices run on Android. In other words, Android development enables you to reach a wider audience. When you’re choosing a platform to build your app on, Android is an obvious choice with it’s near ubiquitous reach.

3) Strong compatibility with new OS versions

Android releases regular updates, some that have a large scope, and others to address minor issues. Generally, app publishers have to check their program’s compatibility with new versions of an operating system. With Android though, compatibility issues with new versions are very rare.

This makes Android maintenance easier as app publishers don’t have to worry about new OS versions.

4) Fast and easy development

While custom development can be tedious, Android apps can be developed quickly with tools like AppMySite. Whether you wish to link your Android app to your website or create a fully native interface, AppMySite provides you all the options you need.

The ease and relatively low cost of development make Android app creation an obvious choice.

How does displaying a webpage inside an app help?

Many companies with mobile apps loaded with top features would naturally wonder the point of simply displaying a webpage inside an app. After all, this is nothing but the equivalent of copying the mobile version of a website in an app environment.

There are many reasons why some businesses choose to take this path. Firstly, this takes away the pressure of getting the mobile app design right. The app only displays a specific webpage and thus businesses only have to work on their website design. Developing such an app is also simpler compared to spending night and day working on an app’s features and functions.

Mobile apps that display a webpage are also known as web view apps. Thus, you need to create a web view app to display a website link inside an app.

Web view apps – An Introduction

Let’s understand native apps first to get a better idea of web view apps. A native mobile app is essentially software for your smartphone. It is designed to work in a mobile environment and leverage the resources of the device.

As an exercise, visit Amazon’s mobile website and then take a look at the home screen of its app. You will find key differences in design and performance in both. The app will be much more responsive and aesthetically optimal because it is designed to operate on a mobile device. The website on the other hand is just a responsive version of the website.

Web view apps are essentially customized versions of web browsers that only contain the main rendering engine. Their performance and design is dependent on the website.

So how can you make an Android app that links to your website? You essentially have to build a web view app.

Also read:  Native app vs WebView app – Which Path Offers Better Odds of Success?

Creating webview apps with AppMySite – A guide

AppMySite is a free online app maker that enables WordPress users to create both native and web view apps without writing code. If you want to create an Android app that points to a URL and you don’t know how to code, AppMySite is a great place to start. You can get your own web view app up and running within minutes.

The following steps explain the process of creating a webview app with AppMySite.

Step #1 – Setup appearance

The first step is setting up the appearance of your web view app. You need to create the basic elements of your web view app such as app icon, launch screen, and log-in & sign-up screens.

AppMySite offers users a ton of customization options when designing these app elements. The following points highlight some of them –

  • App iconUsers can design an app icon using the customization options available or upload their own design. The design options available include color and text fields.
  • Launch screenAlso known as the splash screen, users can access options to design the background and logo or upload their own artwork for both. AppMySite also provides access to a free image library containing high quality images for the launch screen background.
  • Log-in & sign-up screensDesign options to optimize background, logo, buttons, and fields are available. Users are also free to upload their own designs for background and logo.

These main elements will help set up the essential parts of your web view app.

Step #2 – Activate webview on dashboard

This step will enable you to display a webpage from your website on the app dashboard. After finishing work on the key app elements, head over to Dashboard under Appearance.

You will find the web view tab here. Enter a URL from your website in the field. You can also choose to display your website’s header and footer using the toggle below the field. Hit save to complete the process.

Following this procedure will essentially make sure your dashboard displays the website URL you entered. You don’t need to work on the other options in this section as you’re directly displaying your webpage.

Step #3 – Connect website and app

You need to connect your website to AppMySite in order to display your website content on the app. The following steps explain what you need to do –

  • You need to enter your WooCommerce REST API keys if your website is an ecommerce store. Generate the Consumer Key and Consumer secret from your WooCommerce website and enter them in API Details under Connectivity. Click here to learn how to generate WooCommerce REST API keys from your ecommerce store.
  • Next, download the AppMySite WordPress plugin on your website. Activate the plugin once the download is complete.
  • Head back to your AppMySite account and select Verify under Install Plugin.
  • You will be redirected to the App Preview if the connection is complete. You can additionally go to Troubleshooting in case of website-app connectivity issues.

Step #4 – Update web view settings

You can additionally choose whether to display all your app screens in web view. Follow the process below to make this change-

  • Go to App Settings and head over to the Pages tab
  • Turn on the toggle beside Enable a web view interface of all my pages. This will basically ensure every app screen basically loads a webpage.
  • You can customize other parts of the web view such as enabling hyperlinks and inputs with the other options in the section.

Step #5 – Preview and download

Download the AppMySite demo app to preview your web view app. This will help you get a real idea about the performance of your app in a mobile environment.

Look for areas where you can improve your design. To customize the design, you would naturally have to make changes on your website. You can finally download the app once you’re done making changes.

App preview

The process below explains how to download an app from AppMySite –

  • To download an app, you would need to upgrade your subscription plan. Visit the pricing page to know more about the various plans available.
  • Generate your app build after upgrading your subscription plan. You have the option to generate both Android and iOS app builds.
  • With Android, you have options to choose between AAB and APK builds.
  • Download the app after your app build is generated. You can then proceed to submit the app builds on the app stores.

Build a web view app. Provide native app experience

The main advantage of building a web view app with AppMySite is performance.

One of the main complaints people have with web view apps is their inferior performance with respect to native apps. This becomes a problem for many businesses who prefer the simplicity of developing and managing web view apps.

AppMySite streamlines performance issues in web view to provide a native app-like performance. It also provides additional capabilities within web view like active links, back button functionality, and full screen display.

These features help businesses provide a native app experience in simple web view apps. It is thus wise to choose AppMySite if you’re looking for a platform to build a web view app.

What are the benefits of Android app development for my business?

So how does building an Android app actually help your business? The following points explain the benefits of Android app development:

  • Sustainable costs and high ROI: For custom developers, easy access to the Android SDK makes the process much easier and sustainable. The alternative, which is using a no-code development tool, is also sustainable and doesn’t require a lot of investment. The upside can be massive as apps can be a great asset for your business.
  • Rapid development cycle: Android apps are associated with rapid development cycles, whether you think of custom-built apps or those created with no-code tools. This makes it much easier to deploy Android apps faster and iron out bugs and issues swiftly.
  • Business growth scalability: Android app usage has grown exponentially. If your app ranks well on the Google Play Store, and you’re running a good marketing campaign, you can scale your business growth exponentially with a live app on the app store.
  • Built for native Android smartphone: Compared to a mobile website, an Android app is built to adapt to the native specs of smartphone devices. You can deliver a much better user experience with an Android app, when compared to a mobile website.

Frequently asked questions

Have questions about linking your Android app to a website, or just Android development in general? Here are answers to some frequently asked questions.

What is the estimated cost to build an Android mobile app?

The cost of building an Android app depends on a lot of factors. The average cost of Android app development can be put somewhere between $40-70K, but this can rise higher depending on factors such as your feature requirements, integrations, location of developers, and so on. 

An easier alternative is to sign up for a DIY platform that allows you to build Android apps without investing thousands of dollars. 

Which programming language is the best to build Android apps?

Java and Kotlin are generally the primary languages of Android app development. Android developers need to have a firm grasp over Java atleast to work on an Android project. If you don’t know Java or Kotlin and wish to build an Android app for your business or client, you can sign up for AppMySite and build Android apps without writing a single line of code. 

What to do after submitting an app to the app store?        

Before you submit your app to the Google Play and Apple App Store, you need to create developer accounts.

Developer accounts enable you to submit your app to the app stores. For Android, you need to create a Google Play Console account (also known as Google developer account). For iOS, you’re required to create an App Store Connect account (also known as Apple developer account). You can submit your app to the app stores with these developer accounts. 

Before app submission, it’s also wise to do thorough mobile app testing to ensure there are no bugs and issues in the application. 

In conclusion

Not every business wants to create an app supercharged with cool features and functions. Some companies only require a simple app that can be developed and managed easily.

This drives many towards web view app development. This article provides a complete guide on how to make an Android app that links to a website. The overall app creation process discussed here is performed on AppMySite, a great platform to create a WordPress app without coding.

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