Is this the easiest convert-to-native-iPhone-app tool yet?

WiziApp Review: Is this the easiest way yet to convert from a WordPress site into a fully-functional native app?

First, some background: My general WordPress (WP) blog containing my Christian writings has become a confusing mess. So I decided to separate each of the major writing themes into its own blog. So I recently changed to a host which has easy WP installation and imported my my WP blog there in its own folder, naming the folder after its theme. (For instance, I have a book app called Doubt Busters: Answering the Questions that Challenge our Faith, and have added a lot of its content to my WP site. So when I imported it to my new server, it went into a folder called In there, I deleted all the unrelated posts.)

Now for the purpose of this article. While I was going through every link in the admin panel to customize my site, I clicked on Plugins and came upon WiziApp. “WiziApp automatically turns your WordPress blog into a native iPhone app. To get started, we need you to complete 3 simple steps to configure your app using our friendly Wizard.”

I clicked on the link to get started. The first step was to “Customize your app.” At right I saw a screenshot of the device with my app name at the top of the (blank) home page. It showed my app name as Doubt Busters, which was pulled from my site name. At left were seven customizing steps, the first being “Enter your app name.” Helpfully, WiziApp has already queried the App Store and found my name in use. So I changed this one to Doubt Busters 2. (WiziApp wouldn’t let me go further until I changed it, so this service would not work if I wanted to replace my current app with this one. )

The next step was to “Design your spash screen.” The device screen at right changed to show my app name, a space below, then the tagline, all in a sans-serif typeface, the app name larger. At left I could select from several pretty-decent abstract backgrounds.

“Customize your theme” showed me three checkboxes: Display author, Display date, Display comments. At right the device screen changes to the home screen showing a table list of my articles. The article titles are in boldface. Selecting Display author and Display date will display those under the title in regular style. Checking Display comments will show a comment bubble in the table list with the number of comments users added to that article. You can actually click on a table cell and see the article appear. However, I was unable to scroll it up and down.

When you click on the next step, “Customize your Tab Bar Menu,” you get list of extra features. These features will be available as icons at the bottom of the screen in the tab bar. The main items are Latest, Categories, Pages, and Search. Clicking on More… will get you more icons: About (you will provide information for this page in Step 3), Tags, Albums, Videos, Audio, Links, Archive, Favorites. I checked all the features which have corresponding content in my site.

Next was the “Set Push notification” step. If you don’t know what this means, you can click on the question mark next to the feature. This question mark icon reveals about Push notification:

“Push notification is a service provided by Apple that sends free notifications about your app to the end user’s iPhone device. The service requires a server, which we run and maintain for you. If you enable this service, your audience will be notified of new posts you have published. Types of notifications available are:

    Badge number: For each new post, the iOS displays a badge number in the upper-right corner of the icon of your app. The number represents unread posts.
    Text alert: A text alert will appear on the iPhone home screen to notify of new posts.
    Sound alert: A sound alert will be generated for each new post.

Please note: end users can disable the push notification service in their iPhone device settings.”

Based on the above directions, I selected Enable Push notifications and Text message checkboxes.

After these steps came “Set sharing options.” Email is selected by default. I selected all the rest: Facebook, SMS, and Twitter.

Lastly is “Monetize your app.” If you have set up an adMob account, you enter your adMob ID and allow them to feed ads to the bottom of your app each time it is accessed.

The screen display shows the Tab Bar at the bottom of my potential app screen with the selections I made. I can click on each to view the display of my WP site in the app! Very impressive.

When I was satisfied with the selections above, it was time for Step 3. I clicked on Save & Continue and WiziApp presented me with several payment options. (This is not a free service.) The lowest price, with 100,000 Push Notifications and not Monetized is $19.90/month or $199.99 setup. Prices go higher with two alternate tiers of service, the main difference being the amount of Push Notifications (250K for $29.99/mo. or Unlimited for $49.90/mo.) (To air a pet beef of mine, there’s a difference between “alternate” and “alternative.” Alternate means an option (as I used it in this paragraph), while alternative, misused everywhere, means out of the mainstream, like alternative rock.)

Below the three tiers of service offered (click on one to choose it) you create an account,  enter you billing information, and agree to the terms of service. At this point I backed out.

I was quite impressed with the check-box ease of this service, its number of options, the Tab Bar menu choices, and sharing capabilities. My individual books don’t make me $20 a month, so I would not use this service. However, I can see a person, company or organization with an impressive public platform use this service to easily convert their WP blog to an app. Or such an entity could write a book with WP, complete with audio, video, and photos, and create an app — skipping any knowledge of Xcode, HTML, CSS, and Javascript!

Visit the WiziApp web site to see screen shots and learn more:

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