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How To Convert A Website Into An iOS App

covert app to ios app

Wondering how to convert a website into an iOS app?

You’ve come to the right place.

According Forbes, “Apple’s Services To Top $50 Billion Profits By 2025.”

Apple’s amazing growth is going to continue into the future. This means huge profits for all those vendors offering apps through its store. Here’re a few amazing case studies of companies who hired DevTeam.Space to build their iOS products:

  1. DentaMatch – Healthcare Android and iOS App
  2. Mejorate – Healthcare Android and iOS Application
  3. Swift Gift– eCommerce Android and iOS App

Contents

Should you convert your website to an iOS app?
What kind of iOS app should you build?
Should you use a website-into-app converter?
How to convert your website into an iOS app
Converting your website to an iOS app?

Should you convert your website to an iOS app?

Before we begin on how to convert a website into an iOS app, why don’t we cover a few basics first? Will you gain by converting your website to an iOS app, and will your customers gain if you do so? Well, it turns out that both you and your customers stand to gain, and that’s due to the following reasons:

  • Mobile apps offer better personalization to your customers.
  • With mobile apps, you can send “push notifications” and “in-app notifications”. These improve customer engagement.
  • Launching a mobile app allows you to take advantage of the mobile device features like camera, GPS, etc.
  • While your customers can’t work offline with your website, they can work offline with your mobile app.
  • You can take advantage of gestures like “tap”, “swipe”, etc. when you design a UI for your mobile app. These aren’t available for websites.
  • Mobile apps offer better branding experience and opportunities.
  • Statistics say that Internet users spend more time on mobile apps than mobile websites.
  • Mobile apps offer you entirely new streams of conversion.
  • Your users will find your mobile app faster than your mobile website if you develop the app well.

Read “App or website? 10 reasons why apps are better [2020]” for more insights.

How popular are iOS apps? One simple statistic will help you understand their popularity! As of Q1 2019, the Apple App Store had 2.2 million iOS apps, as you can read in “App download and usage statistics (2019)”.

What kind of iOS app should you build?

You have choices when converting your website into an iOS app, namely, developing a native app vs developing a hybrid app. Which option should you take?

Native apps are apps created specifically for a mobile platform like Android or iOS. On the other hand, hybrid apps can be used on multiple platforms like Android, iOS, and Windows.

I recommend that you convert your website to a native iOS app. You get a lot of advantages by doing so, e.g.:

  • Native apps use technologies that cater to a specific platform, therefore, they run smoother than hybrid apps.
  • Native apps are optimized for platforms like iOS, which makes them faster.
  • User experience is much better with native apps than hybrid apps.
  • Native apps are more secure.
  • Since native apps can access device features like camera, GPS, etc. easily, they offer better flexibility.

Although native app development takes more time and money, the above-mentioned advantages decisively override that. You can read “Native app development vs. hybrid app development” for more insights.

Should you use a website into app converter?

At this point, you might be wondering about your next steps. You might toy with the idea of using a website-into-app converter, however, should you go for it?

You can find such converters relatively easily, e.g., the Appy Pie website to app converter. They can help you to create mobile apps with standard features like “push notifications”.

However, keep in mind that such converters have their inherent limitations. If you plan to offer highly differentiated features in your iOS app, then you can’t use such converters. You should plan to develop an iOS app if you plan to offer features that stand out.

How to convert your website into an iOS app

By now, you likely see the value of converting your website into an iOS app, moreover, you are likely convinced that you should develop a native iOS app. How do you go about it, though? I will now explain the steps involved, which are as follows:

1. Project planning

Plan meticulously so that you can make this project a successful one! Focus on the following:

1a. Finalize the requirements of your iOS app

As you convert your website into an iOS app, you could add some features to it. Onboard a competent project manager (PM), an IT architect, and a team of business analysts to finalize the features of the planned iOS app.

Which project methodology should you use? You are developing a mobile app, and these are “Systems of Engagement” (SoEs). Iterative development will help you, where you launch a “Minimum Viable Product” (MVP) first and enhance it iteratively.

I recommend that you use the Agile methodology here. Read our guide “What Is software development life cycle and what you plan for?” and learn more about Agile.

1b. Zero in on the right development approach

How would you execute the development project effectively? Zero in on an effective development approach first, and I recommend the following:

  • Keep your eyes on application security.
  • Utilize managed cloud services platforms like “Mobile-Backend-as-a-Service” so that you don’t get bogged down with IT infrastructure management.
  • Develop APIs for your core features and utilize market-leading 3rd party APIs for non-core features.

Check out our guide “What is the best development approach to guarantee the success of your app?” for more insights.

2. Organize your development environment

You have a plan now, therefore, set the ball rolling by organizing your development environment! Do the following:

2a. Find an MBaaS platform

You would like to focus more on the iOS app front-end and business logic, wouldn’t you? Reduce the time spent in building and managing the mobile backend, and use an MBaaS platform instead. As I had explained in “How to choose the best Mobile Backend as a Service (MBaaS)?”, MBaaS platforms offer many advantages, e.g.:

  • These platforms manage the cloud infrastructure and persistent storage, which reduces your effort to build and manage the mobile backend.
  • MBaaS platforms help you to scale your mobile app.
  • You can integrate APIs easily when you use such a platform, moreover, implementing features like user management and “push notifications” becomes easier.

Sign-up for AWS Amplify, which is the MBaaS offering from AWS.

2b. Sign-up for a mobile device lab on the cloud

You want your iOS app to work with all applicable Apple devices, don’t you? Well, you first need to test it against a wide range of devices, however, popular open-source test automation frameworks don’t help enough.

Sign-up with Experitest, which offers a “Mobile device & browser lab” on the cloud. You can use the device-browser combinations it offers to improve your test coverage.

3. Form and organize your team

Even your best plans will only succeed if you have the right people, won’t they? Onboard the right people to staff the following roles:

  • UI designers;
  • iOS developers with experience in Swift;
  • Testers;
  • DevOps engineers.

Need help to find competent people? Our guide “How to find a good software developer” is just what you need!

You would like a highly productive team, wouldn’t you? Well, you need to organize your team in a way that fosters collaboration and empowerment, and I recommend that you use the “Scrum” technique for this.

Successful Agile teams often use this technique, which involves forming “Scrum” teams. These are small, cross-functional teams. The PM should perform the “Scrum Master” role and focus on the following:

  • Fostering collaboration between developers, testers, and business stakeholders.
  • Empowering the team so that it can estimate the features and plan iterations, which are called “Sprints” in “Scrum” parlance.
  • Managing the team using the right practices, e.g., “daily stand-up meetings” for project status tracking, “Sprint review meetings” to demonstrate the app to the business stakeholders, etc.

Check out our guide “How to build a Scrum development team?” to learn more.

4. Decide on the technology stack

Which technologies should you use? We will now dive deep into it, and I recommend the following:

4a. Use Swift to code the iOS app

Which programming language should you use? I recommend Swift, which offers many advantages, e.g.:

  • Its advanced operators reduce coding effort.
  • Swift is lightweight, therefore, you can code performant apps.
  • This modern language eliminates common coding errors, thanks to its features!
  • Swift reads just like English, therefore, your code is easier to read.
  • Apps coded using Swift have better maintainability.
  • Apple prefers Swift, and you benefit from better “App Store Optimization” (ASO).
  • In addition to Apple, Swift receives significant support from IBM. Such support bodes well for its future.

I have explained these advantages in “How to migrate your Objective-C project to Swift?”.

4b. Create RESTful APIs for your core features

Did you already create APIs for your core features when you built your website? If you didn’t, then you should do so now. I recommend that you create RESTful APIs since REST (Representational State Transfer) has become the de-facto standard for APIs.

Take the following steps:

  • Use a tool like Postman to develop and test your RESTful APIs.
  • Document your APIs using a tool like Swagger.
  • Use your cloud hosting account to host them, moreover, use modern databases like PostgreSQL and MongoDB.
  • Secure your APIs using techniques like encryption, digital signature, quotas, throttling, and secure gateways.
  • Design meaningful URLs and effective rules for requests/responses.

Check out our guide “How to build RESTful API for your mobile app?” for more insights.

4c. Use market-leading 3rd party APIs for your non-core features

The nature of your non-core features will determine which 3rd party APIs you should use. Take “push notifications” for example, where you will need a bulk-SMS solution. I recommend Twilio for this, and you can use its “Programmable SMS” API solution. Read “Messaging services and Copilot” to learn how to use it.

5. Design and develop your iOS app

You surely want to offer a user-friendly UI, don’t you? To do so, you should consult useful guidelines, e.g.:

Use Xcode, the popular IDE for developing apps for Apple platforms to code the app. Integrate your APIs into the code, moreover, integrate the 3rd party APIs.

At this point, you need to pay close attention to application security. Proactively mitigate key application security risks, e.g.:

  • Injection;
  • Broken authentication;
  • Sensitive data exposure;
  • XML external entities (XXE);
  • Broken access control;
  • Security misconfiguration;
  • Cross-site scripting (XSS);
  • Insecure deserialization;
  • Using components with known vulnerabilities;
  • Insufficient logging & monitoring.

Read “OWASP top ten” for more information.

6. Review your code, test your app, and publish it

You have designed your app and coded it, therefore, it’s time for “verification & validation”. While you ought to test your app, testing doesn’t unearth all bugs.

You need a thorough code review, and your reviewer should check the following:

  • Can the code deliver the intended functionalities?
  • Does the code follow the right standards and guidelines?
  • Are there shortcomings in the code that impact the scalability, performance, etc.?
  • Does the code have application security vulnerabilities?

Finding competent code reviewers can be hard, however, you can get help from our guide “Why choosing DevTeam.Space to review your code can ensure your software product is a success”.

Test your app using XCTest and the Experitest mobile device lab on the cloud. Publish it to the Apple App Store by following the instructions in “Submit your apps to the App Store”.

Converting your website to an iOS app?

Mobile apps can significantly increase your reach, however, you ought to offer an app that stands out. Designing and developing such an iOS app could be complex, therefore, consider engaging a reputed software development company for such projects. Read our guide “How to find the best software development company?” to find one.

DevTeam.Space is a vetted community of expert dev teams supported by an AI-powered agile process.

Companies like Samsung, Airbus, NEC, and startups rely on us to build great online products. We can help you too, by helping you to hire and effortlessly manage expert developers.

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