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Tapatalk app alternative made for Xenforo and XF plugins

Discussion in 'Custom Service/Development Requests' started by Ludachris, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. Ludachris

    Ludachris Well-Known Member

    There's been a lot of chatter here in the XF forums and in other webmaster forums so I figured I'd formally post this request here to find out what's possible and hopefully get some other forum admins involved. I would like to see if we can get a bunch of admins to band together to support the development of a Xenforo specific forum app that will cater to both IOS and Android users, possibly built using Appcelerator Titanium.

    The app would ideally be built to allow for simple browsing and forum posting, messaging and push notifications - all of the basic expected functionality that users have come to expect because of their experience using Tapatalk. The main difference would be that the forum owners would pay the licensing fees and support the development so that there is no conflict of interest in user data access, the UI, content hosting, cross forum marketing, and any other user experience concerns that admins currently have with Tapatalk. We don't want our users to be the developer's customer, it should be the forum admins paying the costs for the app so that making the forum admin happy is the developer's top priority, not building a massive network of app users to market to.

    I've pointed out what I feel is critical functionality that isn't available in any existing forum app here:
    http://xenforo.com/community/threads/tapatalk-yes-or-no.66772/page-5#post-813026

    The ability to integrate popular XF plugins is very important, as is the ability to make photo sharing a quick 2-step process when viewing photos on a mobile device (videos sharing should probably be addressed as well, but hosting those videos becomes an issue - maybe find a way to integrate Youtube and share it in the forum at the same time somehow). And obviously, security is of extreme importance, which is why I think the app should be focused only on Xenforo and not countless other forum scripts.

    We can spec out the details and what initial functionality and plugins should be included. Maybe all plugin support is licensed separately. That would be fine for most of us. I would just like to have say in terms of at least 1 or 2 plugins are focused on first.

    Is this possible? Or is it simply too big of a project and not a good enough business case to attempt it? How can it be structured so that it's fruitful for the developer and doesn't cost the forum admins an arm and a leg? What are the main challenges and how can they be addressed?

    If you're a forum admin and want to help support this effort LIKE this post and add in your requirements and give some ideas on how you think it could be licensed.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
    Joe Link, thumped, surfsup and 15 others like this.
  2. Joshua

    Joshua Active Member

    I like the idea of working with an app developer whose interests align with mine. This has been a huge concern with current app options for the reasons you listed.
    My requirements would be basically what you've outlined. I'd love to see support for add-ons like XenMediaGallery as well.
    Some good solid competition in this space would benefit all forum admins.
     
  3. Ludachris

    Ludachris Well-Known Member

    I wonder if those forum admins who are content with simply having a mobile friendly theme wouldn't just be interested in having a smaller app developed that addressed the photo sharing aspects I described above. It would be a mini app that might be easier to develop and support and would be extremely useful and valuable to forum admins. If I had that I know I could live without a full fledged forum app, retaining full control over how my site renders on mobile devices. Maybe starting small and attacking specific needs is the better way to go instead of trying to create a massive app that does everything.
     
  4. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Well-Known Member

    As I stated in the other thread, I'm in...
     
  5. Alfa1

    Alfa1 Well-Known Member

    It would be nice to have an app to make use of photo/video sharing right from camera and gallery, quick status updates, sharing location, PUSH notifications and of course easy browsing. Being on the users home screen is also valuable.
     
  6. Sheratan

    Sheratan Well-Known Member

    I can donate some money with a condition: Windows Phone version :D
     
  7. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    Been discussing this at my forum as well. Would be nice to have native 'post to forum profile' from a camera roll. I watch my wife use Facebook from her fully FB integrated iphone and think we could really benefit from this. Responsive is fine for browsing and I use my phone to check my forums many times a day but an app is now critical.

    We're losing to FB and other social media because of the lack of 1 click/share functionality. I can admin my forum from an iphone. My wife would even want to learn how to do so via mobile safari. TT doesn't have native functions from photos and I'm not sure why.
     
  8. Aayush

    Aayush Well-Known Member

    I like the idea but do you realize that this might cost you significant amount of $$$$. On top of that asking support for native XF plugins would drastically increase the cost. Development of mobile apps isn't like the usual PHP in which XF is coded. You just can't install addons to a given application. Each app needs to have it's content already compiled at the time of submission for approval.
    Having support for every addon at the time of compiling would only increase the size of the app and hinder future managability.
    Not to mention the regular updates of addons on XF. The app won't be able to cope with updating stuff at such pace.
    It is easier said than done.
     
    D.O.A. and BamaStangGuy like this.
  9. Ridemonkey

    Ridemonkey Well-Known Member

    I don't think anyone is saying it's easy. Just that it's desirable.

    There will, of course, be limitations of what can be supported and to what extent, depending on the resources available to develop it.

    Frankly, though, something like this is equally as valuable as the XF license itself and I am willing to pay accordingly for it. Any large forum should be able to generate at least enough revenue to pay a couple hundred bucks for a high quality mobile app integration.

    Plugins are a big question mark, but perhaps the app can be developed in a modular way where either plugins themselves or the plugin framework is a separate license fee (or a recurring subscription) in order to support the incremental development that they will require. vBulletin is attempting to address this through their mobile suite, which has both a core cost and an annual fee. I haven't used the mobile suite's native apps so I don't know if they're any good, but it's at least the same idea.
     
  10. Aayush

    Aayush Well-Known Member

    Yeah it totally depends on the resources. It should probably be a crowd-funded project. I looked into that vB mobile suite. It is just the mobile app for the forum without any additional addon support. A basic forum app for XF is feasible but having plugin support seems to be unfeasible.
     
  11. Ludachris

    Ludachris Well-Known Member

    I'm not saying it would be cheap or easy. I'm saying it's something most of us are probably going to need before too long, and there's only one option for us right now and many are uneasy with that option, forcing some to simply opt for a mobile theme. With as many big boards that are migrating over to XF, and a good portion of them being able to appreciate the importance of mobile interaction in web communities, I can't imagine there isn't enough interest to support the development. The fact that vB is attempting to tackle it with their mobile suite shows they feel it's important, not that I put much stock in IB's plans these days.

    I just think a solid business case can be made for it. And if there is a developer who is passionate about the project, imagine the possibilities. Just look at what XF has become in such a short time under similar circumstances.
     
  12. drastic

    drastic Well-Known Member

    With responsive styles, why do we need an app?I can run my entire site and all addons on my phone w no problem.

    - coding an app to try and meet everyone's addon needs would be a huge mess.

    Create a basic XF mobile app that let's you chat, upload/view pics and vids, update profile settings, link Facebook/twitter, advertise, and perform basic admin functions. That's probably the popular features ppl use on forums, and would suffice for most sites. Or open it in a browser.
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2014
    Freelancer and Aayush like this.
  13. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Well-Known Member

    Try that argument with a devoted Tapatalk user and you will lose.
     
    FredC likes this.
  14. Ludachris

    Ludachris Well-Known Member

    Exactly. The people who love using apps don't like using sites in a browser for some reason. I don't quite understand the mentality, but I've had a few really good members tell me that they are using the site less now because we don't have an app installed. These aren't members that I can say "oh well, have a good life", they are the type that make you step back and really think about things.
     
    FredC likes this.
  15. Ludachris

    Ludachris Well-Known Member

    I could live with that, as that does seem like the biggest disadvantage of not having an app. The browsing of the site isn't the biggest issue with a mobile theme. I think it's the ease of instantly sharing media from the phone, without first having to open the site and navigate to where they want to upload the media to.
     
    Alfa1 likes this.
  16. melbo

    melbo Well-Known Member

    I used to think this was all I needed until I started to watch the social behavior of my wife. She'll be out at the park with my daughter, take a picture and with 1 swipe and 1 tap can send this picture (with comment) directly to her FB profile. It's the ability of an app to integrate with the native features of a mobile UI that would make this work above TT or a mobile/responsive style.

    Sure, I can fully admin my forum from my phone. The difference is that I'm an admin and my wife is not. She can directly update her social networks from her camera roll.
     
    FredC, Alfa1 and BamaStangGuy like this.
  17. Ludachris

    Ludachris Well-Known Member

    Looks like I'm not the only one who has noticed this.

    I manage a car site. Many car site admins will agree that car guys take a lot of photos of cars. Where do you think it's easier for them to post those photos these days? And because of that, where do you think they share most of their photos? All of my site leaders are on FB now, participating in a similar way there as they do on the site, and sharing most of their photos there. I just want to give them more reason to want to post their content on our site. To do that you have to remove more of the hurdles (clicks) and integrate more with their phones. Over half my traffic now comes from mobile, and I suspect that's going to be the case for a lot of automotive forums before long.
     
    FredC and Alfa1 like this.
  18. Floyd R Turbo

    Floyd R Turbo Well-Known Member

    Forums are not the same as today's social networks like snapchat, instgram, facebook, etc so I do not thing this is a valid comparison. Let's stop making such comparisons and realize that is it a different animal we are dealing with, however there are certain similarities.

    If someone wants to place a post or a picture on a forum, they have to navigate to the thread in which they wish to post first. This is the defining difference between modern social media (as my teenagers use it) and forums. There is no timeline or homepage that you would automatically post to with a single click from your camera.

    The main problems, IMO, that we are discussing trying to solve here are as stated in the OP

    Tapatalk has the little button for uploading a picture. I never use it personally but I know many who do, because they browse forums almost exclusively on Tapatalk. But you would not need a one-click upload from a camera roll.

    Push notifications IMO are one of the if not the top reason why people like Tapatalk. There is Pushover but I haven't tried it and it's not free to users or (depending on usage) admins/site owners either.

    Having all your forums in one nice tidy place is the other top reason.

    Being able to use XF addons via a mobile app would be nice too, as well as being able to style content for advertisers/sponsors of your site

    And of course, non invasive and non buggy.
     
  19. JulianD

    JulianD Well-Known Member

    In Android, as far as I know, you can create "addons" but are basically other apps designed to listen and replying to the main app.
     
  20. drastic

    drastic Well-Known Member

    good posts - apps make it way easier to use the features and the website has so many little buttons to push!

    it would be nice if there was a basic xf app that let us use the core features, whereas the addons would be on their own.
     

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