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You Can Have An App For That Too!
by Gerhard Guevarra Tue, 05/03/2011 - 11:15
I'm not a programmer, nor am I even come close to one. I know enough to manage my own website and not totally screw it up. I may know a little more because I have screwed it up a few times and have had to fix it. But making my own app for an iphone or an Android phone? Not a chance.
For this case, I'm going to talk about making an app for Android phones. A few reasons...1) I own an Android phone. 2) I'm not an Apple products person. 3) You'd need to "jailbreak" your iphone to install non-itunes market apps.
Don't know what "jailbreak" your iphone means? Don't worry about it. If you don't know what it means, then you haven't done it and you can't install apps on your phone that you didn't get from itunes. However, on Android phones, one quick setting on your phone and you can install any non-market app.
Back to the issue at large, making an Android app for your business. I'm sure there's lots of things you'd love your business' Android app to be able to do...taking orders, provide information, keep track of clients, fling birds at wooden structures, etc. What we'll look at is just getting information to your clients from your website to an Android phone.
So here's what you need: and Android phone (to test your app and make sure it works and look like what you want), a website with an RSS feed, and a computer. There's a few other things you need, but I'll mention those later, primarily they are registrations on some websites.
There are actually two different methods to create an Android App. One is super easy, the other is somewhat easy. Both are FREE. First off is using a free web service called Apps Geyser (appsgeyser.com). Using Apps Geyser is very straight forward. You can create your app from 3 different sources: an RSS feed, a web widget, or a web clip from your website.
I have not yet gotten the web clip to work, so we'll disregard that. I have no idea how to make a web widget, and although there are some websites that will make a web widget for you, I haven't found a good one that's free, so we'll ignore that one for now. That leaves us with an RSS feed. With some luck, you're website is already equipped with an RSS feed. If you don't have one...I'd stop reading here because I'm not going to get into how to create an RSS feed.
Visit appsgeyser.com and you'll see it's a pretty straight forward website. There's going to be a button near the middle of the page that says something like "Create Your Own App". You'll have 3 choices from which you can make an app (the three that I mentioned earlier). You'll select a website or an RSS feed. Once you input that information, the next settings will customizations like the name of your application, icon to use, description, etc.
Apps Geyser also gives you the availability to track the number of times your application has been downloaded in addition to making some additional money through ads. You can download your application and have it available on your website for customers to download and install on their phone, or you can submit it to the Android Market for the world to find. It's as simple as that.
The next method will need a few more steps and requirements. Among these requirements is having a website run by a content management system called Wordpress. You'll also need to register at a website called feed.nu.
Here's the breakdown. Wordpress will supply the information for your website, again through an RSS feed. Remember, you'll need a Wordpress website to do this, not just any old RSS feed will suffice. Feed.nu will supply the plugin for your website to create the application.
So head over to feed.nu and register for an account. Once you're registered, it will give you access to download the plugin for your Wordpress website. It will also give you instructions on how to connect your website to feed.nu. Once you've uploaded your new plugin on your Wordpress site, just set the settings (and you have much more options than Apps Geyser). Your settings include icons, headers, colors, etc. After you completed all the settings you want, the plugin will create your application for you and VOILA! Instant Android Application. What's even cooler about feed.nu is that the application you create has the ability for users to create a setting to be instantly notified when brand spanking, hot off the press news arrives. You have the power to activate that vibrator in their pants.
So there you go. You've created your first Android application, now go forth and propagate the Android market with dozens of news worthy applications for the masses.
About the author
Gerhard Guevarra is the owner of All-American Fencing Academy. With his impressive enthusiasm for teaching and training new and competitive fencers, he instantly grabbed the hearts of our regulars and won the 9th Idea Cafe Small Business Grant.