So you tried to get by with just a mobile-optimized version of your site, but it wasn’t cutting it and you built an app. How do you let iPhone users know you even have an app? Companies have tried pretty much everything under the sun and 99% of them are annoying as hell. Thankfully with IOS 6, Apple has provided a super simple standard to incoporate this. Start by adding the snippet below into your site:
There are three parameters you can play with, but really you only need the first one to get it up and running. The parameters are: app-id, affiliate-data and app-argument. The app-id is your app’s unique 9-digit identifier code which you can easily find at the Apple Link Maker site. Affiliate-data is only needed if you are an itunes affiliate. Now the app-argument parameter, which is also optional, is what makes this snippet so useful. Here you can pass in a deep-link that that will help the user return to the same spot in the app where they were in the site.
This is so easy. Hopefully with this smart app banner code, people will stop resorting to full page takeover pop-ups that force people to decide if they want the app before even getting to your site. Make sure to read over the full documentation here.
Well, I finally got back into the iPhone app saddle and I’m spending all my free time learning Objective C. I’m taking a class a Santa Monica college, devouring a steady stream of tutorials and building a few different apps simultaneously. It won’t be quick but my goal is to be a bona-fide IOS dev in about 6 months. My goal is to post some tips and tricks here that I learn along the way, and also take note of any growing pains I come across that might help any other developers out there.
2 years. Thats how long it’s been since my buddy Felix & I waited in line at 6 AM in front of the AT&T store to get the iPhone 3G. I held off from getting last year’s model; I guess the $699 price tag was enough to keep me at bay, but just barely. So two years later, with a new job across town, I find myself once again standing in line at 6 AM with my buddy Felix to get Apple’s latest toy. But instead of 20 people ahead of us, this time there was roughly 500.
After spending the last few days working on making another site experience more iphone-friendly, I figured why not my own? I started by scrapping my old ghetto WordPress theme in favor of something from scratch and a lot more minimal. Once I got it to where I liked, I realized the iPhone version sucked now sucked.
There’s a lot of little tips and tricks out there to make a site function better on the mobile Safari browser. Probably the most helpful was Razak.nl. He shows you how to make your site look and act more like a native app by getting the browser out of the way. If you’re going to try this out for your own site, make sure you also look at Molecular Voices and iPhone Microsites to get you headed on the right path.
Insert the obligatory “Welcome To 2003” joke here. But all things aside, it works, and it works great. Glad now that I upgraded to that 1500 messages plan. Of course I’m a chump with only a 3G iPhone so I can only receive video.
When the first iPhone came out, I was boycotting it. Lame, I know, but I refused to go to the Apple store and even look at it. I knew the second I got my hands on one, I’d have to buy it right there on the spot, and I really wasn’t in the mood to spend 600 bucks. I’m proud to say I held out for a whole week.
So I finally got the WordPress app for the iPhone working. And while yes, it does work (I’m writing this post on it), there are caveats.
A few things that could be better:
For one, image placement lacks any kind of align in the image tag, so the picture placement is very haphazard and it just plain looks bad. Sure you can manually add the align code, but I think a lot of users of this app won’t know how to do that.
Also, I don’t like how when you hit save, it puts you back into the list of posts. When you use the actual version of WordPress and you publish, it keeps you in the post so you can keep editing it. I’m a prolific saver by nature, it’s burned into my brain by years of working on large photoshop files on crash-prone computers. Having to go back into the post after every save isn’t that big of a deal, but it breaks up my work flow and typing on the iPhone isn’t the easiest task.
These annoyances aside, the app works, and the few things it does, it does fairly well. If you need to post on the go, this app could be for you. Besides, it’s free.
Thanks to this free plugin for WordPress, you can instantly format your blog specifically for the iphone when someone logs on from one. Sweet. It basically just switches the CSS stylesheet when it detects you are on from the mobile Safari browser. The mobile page looks like the default WordPress theme, but you have complete access to the CSS and can edit that style it to look however you like.