WordPress is a great Content Management System (CMS) platform for the creation of Mobile Web Apps. WordPress has a vast ecosystem of plugins designed to extend and customize a web site with features and capabilities as diverse as your imagination could dream.
WordPress plugins are available for free or as pay-ware. The Plugin Directory provided by WordPress.org (https://wordpress.org/plugins/) lists all the available plugins. Most of them are clearly described and rated by the community using a five star rating system. It is important for the developer to distinguish between great, good and bad plugins by analyzing the star rating and also taking into account the total number of downloads for a specific plugin to see how popular it is in the WordPress Development Community.
Many WordPress themes can be configured to be responsive; to automatically re-size and adapt, on-the-fly, to the screen resolution of a smartphone, tablet or desktop browser. This is one of the great benefits of Web Apps over Native Apps: you author once, test a lot, and target many Operating System platforms.
For example, with the development of a custom smart phone Mobile Health App we are producing for the CDC on teen pregnancy prevention, we have been able to integrate several plugins in order to satisfy the project requirements. Some of the WordPress plugins we have used in this App are:
- The Store Locator Plus: This plugin allowed us to integrate a “Clinic Finder”. More than 4000 clinics were batch imported in the plugin database using the tools provided by the plugin. The user can find the nearest clinic to the current geographical location using the integrated Smartphone GPS. A map shows all the clinics located in the range selected by the user and the user can get directions to the clinic of choice. We applied new CSS to help format the appearance of the plugin interface. We also modified the HTML code to customize the map form labels.
- The WP Pro Quiz: This plugin allowed us to integrate health related questionnaires in the app which provide customized feedback based on the answers provided by the user.
- ESAudioPlayer: This plugin allowed us to easily add audio based testimonials to the app. The plugin integrates a user-friendly audio player.
The flexibility offered by the massive array of different types of plugins combined with the excellent content management back-end capabilities, and the huge development community, makes WordPress an ideal tool for the development and publishing of Mobile Web Apps.