Why can’t forum devs make a decent mobile app?

Discussion in 'Forum Software Development' started by R0binHood, Oct 29, 2018.

  1. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    At least twice now, sole developers have made quality mobile apps for reddit on their own.

    There was Alien Blue, which was bought by Reddit and relaunched as the official app.

    Now there’s Appollo, which has blown up since it was originally released and is consistently getting massive regular updates.


    If a single dev can make apps as good as Alien Blue and Apollo using the reddit API, why on earth can’t we get some quality mobile apps made for the likes of XenForo or IPB?

    It’s so frustrating that forums still haven’t fully embrassed native mobile like every other social media platform on the planet, leaving us stuck with one company (TapaTalk)

    What’s going on here?
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  2. we_are_borg

    we_are_borg Administrator

    The issue is that reddit had all ready an API in place where mobile developers can use this so making an mobile add-on is much simpler. Now translate this to XF and you want to do the same you’ll need to install an add-on first in XF and then build your app on that. So now you’ll need to build 3 things namely the XF add-on and an Apple and Android app. While its easier to build the app because of the visual editors the XF add-on is php based to start with.
  3. LeadCrow

    LeadCrow Apocalypse Admin

    Because all users need for universal browsing from any device they own is a responsive forum script. An app should never be considered the solution to fundamental shortcomings.

    Back when mobile browsers were terrible and people's phones weak low-resolution, an app made sense but nowadays any chump can offer "progressive web apps", and webmasters can give their websites the same visiblilty on people's homescreens and app folders with as little as adding a pinning manifest, without incurring the expense and maintainance burden of an app or addon.
  4. Ryan Ashbrook

    Ryan Ashbrook IPS Developer

    Probably not the sole reason, but native applications use a completely different programming language from the forum software (typically done in PHP, Ruby, or Perl). As such, it's less likely that the developers would actually know enough of, say, Java or Swift, for instance. So, they would then need to outsource to someone who is knowledgeable in those languages to build and then subsequently maintain the application, which can be very costly.

    And as mentioned, responsive design and Progressive Web Applications will help fill this void.
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  5. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

    Isn't React Native a thing? You can just run JavaScript like... Everywhere else.
    Discord is a big fan of it.

    There are plenty of technologies though which should eliminate the need for native apps though and, to be honest, they're already redundant outside iOS.
  6. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    One guy, makes one app for Reddit on his own, Apollo.

    He adds push notifiation support for it 6 months ago, charges users $10 a year to use it and they lap it up. ($20 for lifetime push)

    Since then he's processed 5 Million push notifications on mobile phones.

    Tapatalk is 10 years old this year, I'm sure their figure is even more staggering.

    Yet there's still nothing from XF or Invision.

    I know it's not completely analogous, but for how long are we going to let down iOS users like this?

    Turn it into an extra revenue source and charge people for it. People are obviously willing to pay if it's well executed.
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  7. R0binHood

    R0binHood Habitué

    There's a bit of discussion as to how it might do it in the Reddit comments, and he confirms he uses services like AWS to process them.

  8. MagicalAzareal

    MagicalAzareal Magical Developer

    I wouldn't expect much from them, they tend to go for the low-hanging fruit.
    Kinda like the rest of us, I guess.

    They likely do have a few million dollars sitting around (120k sites * $120 = $14.4 million), but you can't just bring a load of people on just to speed things up. Things are likely to get out-of-sync between the app and the website.
    Last edited: May 6, 2019
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