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XenForo as a web app

Discussion in 'General XenForo Discussion and Feedback' started by Rudy, Oct 7, 2013.

  1. Rudy

    Rudy Well-Known Member

    I just installed Chrome Beta 31 on my Nexus 4 (Android) phone. It has the usual tweaks and minor feature additions, but what is most noticeable is that it has an "Add To Homescreen" option from the menu. In essence it adds a bookmark of the current page directly to your device's home screen. Not a huge deal by itself, but...if you haven't read the articles about Chrome 31 yet, that is only part of a new function.

    Does anyone else here use the Chrome Application Shortcut feature of Chrome on the desktop? I've been using it since it was introduced. In essence, it opens a frameless web browser window, where a site works on its own more like an application rather than being a site in a browser. If the site is designed well enough (with well laid out breadcrumbs and/or navigation), I've found I don't miss any of the browser controls. As I sit here writing this, I have four different XF forums open in these types of windows, along with two Gmails, a G+, and a couple of other sites.

    With Chrome Beta 31, the "add to homescreen" feature also has the functionality of giving a site a frameless window. Google is gearing this toward having a site be a "web app" if it is coded properly. (They mention other sites/apps currently out there doing essentially the same thing using HTML5.) To activate the feature, you only need add the following to the <head > tag of your site:

    <meta name="mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes">
    Having just added this to two of my sites for testing, I must say XF presents itself nicely in a frameless window on the Nexus 4, just as it does on my desktop computer. It does indeed make it function like an app, with no clutter or distraction. In the Recents menu, the forum shows up at "Web App" with a Chrome icon, rather than Chrome (IOW, having a site open in a tab in Chrome). So, having multiple sites open will have them show up as separate apps, like they do in desktop, and that makes it even easier to jump between them.

    The only thing I miss is having the Refresh/Reload, Back and Forward buttons. On a desktop, backspace or a mouse button will take me backward, and F5 is Refresh. But, how hard is it to add these as a navigation strip to your XF installation? Not hard at all. One could create a thin strip at the top or bottom of the page using JavaScript to provide a custom navigation bar, or just insert simple navigation text links in one of XF's menu bars.

    This has potential... :)
    Shyuan likes this.
  2. Digital Doctor

    Digital Doctor Well-Known Member

    @Rudy - screenshot ? :) I think I know what you mean :)
  3. Rudy

    Rudy Well-Known Member

  4. Rudy

    Rudy Well-Known Member

    It looks like the Chrome browser, but without the address/menu bar at the top. IOW, the site itself is now fullscreen on the phone.

    This is XF as a fullscreen "app":

    2013-10-06 22.19.21.png

    And this is how it looks in standard Chrome:

    2013-10-06 22.19.45.png

    I was also thinking that if the forum's main landing page were icons vs. a node listing, that would make it work more like an app also.

    I don't know if the Android OS has a standard means of generating a "Share" menu (which lists all the accounts you can share a page with), but that would be a great companion to navigation buttons.

    BTW, here is the Recents menu. Notice that I am running 31 Beta alongside Chrome 30. More importantly, the one labeled "Web App" is the separate instance of Chrome running the forum. I imagine that once this is fully implemented, the Chrome icon with the overlaid shortcut arrow will be replaced by the site's icon, and "Web App" text will be replaced with the site title.

    2013-10-06 22.25.34.png
    Digital Doctor likes this.
  5. Rudy

    Rudy Well-Known Member

    Now if Google would find a way to extend Chrome so it could give us notification of alerts...that would be the icing on the cake. I'm sure it would not be hard for Chrome to enable the capability, and developers to implement.
  6. ExpertPixels.com

    ExpertPixels.com Well-Known Member

    Any chance of a screen-cast ? I am so old school lol I am about to lash out on a few tablets and mobile devices for testing of my up coming designs right now tho i am relying on PC emulated ones running the same app software but am not convinced it's a perfect way to ensure the best comparability. Thanks for the screenies tho very interesting.
  7. Chris D

    Chris D XenForo Developer Staff Member

    iOS has had this kind of thing for quite some time.

    I never thought I'd say that in comparison to Android.

    image.jpg image.jpg

    You can have custom splash screens etc. too.
    Last edited: Oct 7, 2013
  8. ExpertPixels.com

    ExpertPixels.com Well-Known Member

    Ohh I get now TY.. Sorry so out of touch with tech of late.. I get the OP's request now

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