Building a web-based app
October 30, 2019 10:15 AM   Subscribe

I'm trying to learn how to build a simple web-based application and I'm having a hard time finding a good starting point. I have a very specific use case and what should be simple requirements - details inside.

My goal is to make an app that sits on my phone and can send me push notifications (like reminders to go to the gym, or to do a pulse check with my work team). Some of these notifications will be simple reminders; others will ask me to confirm that I've done something (like when the gym notification appears, I want the app to show a button for "I worked out today" so I can record my action and look at my completion rate over time).

I'm interested in building this on my own as a personal stretch project, rather than using existing apps in some combination.

I'm comfortable with building a web page that creates most of the functionality I want (except I don't know how to do push notifications). I want to take the next step of making an app. The initial version needs to work on iOS; at some point I may want to expand the concept to Android devices.

I'm familiar with REST API to get and send data to the web server. I've done a little bit of word in WordPress in the past, enough that I can envision how to use WordPress custom post types to create notification messages, record my responses, and the like. I know how to handle logging in and protecting content from non-logged in users in WordPress, and I know how to replicate that through the REST API, but I don't know how to persist my login information (so I don't have to re-enter my credentials every time I open the app/webpage).

What's the easiest way to get started with this project?
posted by philosophygeek to Computers & Internet (3 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
I think what you mostly want is a service worker on that page to schedule a notification.
posted by nickggully at 10:48 AM on October 30, 2019

What is your starting point? Do you know how to code in x-code or whatever it is called for IOS apps? Have you paid for an IOS developer package?

If you have not, what about Javascript? Eclipse for programming in Android is free, Android allows side-loading, which makes it easy to get apps onto your devices, and it's easy to find buy a book (yes, buy a full book, don't try to use just web-based tutorials) that teaches how to program for an Android app.

Does wordpress even allow interfacing applications to do some custom logic behind or do you have to roll your own webserver?

The answers will be very different depending on your starting point.
posted by The_Vegetables at 12:56 PM on October 30, 2019

Echoing nickggully. Sounds like you need service workers. Another related term you could search for is Progressive Web App (PWA) which the modern front end frameworks (React/Vue etc) have developed support for.

Regarding authentication to your app and persisting it across screens, you should look at technologies such as jwt, oauth etc to see what fits your needs.

For a starting point, it would probably make sense to pick one of the frontend frameworks and follow the guides online on how to build a PWA using the one you picked.
posted by tillwehavefaces at 8:08 AM on October 31, 2019

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