No need for a separate mobile app#
When it comes to providing a rich and intuitive experience of XenForo on mobile devices, rather than requiring users to download a separate app from a third-party app store, the XenForo system is programmed to automatically reconfigure itself into a mobile-optimised mode called a progressive web app, or PWA.
Features of the PWA#
As a progressive web app, XenForo provides the following features:
When the system detects a small browser viewport, as found on mobile devices, the user interface automatically adjusts into a space-optimised configuration using a principle called responsive design.
Multi-column layouts are replaced with single columns, clickable controls are made larger to facilitate touch-based browsing and secondary controls that would otherwise clutter the interface are relocated into menus and other visible-on-demand elements.
Like a native mobile app, the XenForo progressive web app allows your forum to be installed in an app-like manner on users' devices.
When a user installs the PWA for your site, it will appear as an app icon on their device screen like any other app, allowing it to be launched without going via the device's web browser.
Apple mobile devices running iOS 16.4 and newer can install the PWA using the Add to Home Screen feature in Safari. This step is required in order to enable push notifications on iOS devices.
Mobile users are accustomed to receiving notifications that integrate with the built-in notification system of their device.
XenForo's alerts system integrates with these to provide push notifications that appear even when users are not actively browsing the forums.
The availability of push notifications is dependent upon users' specific devices, but all tier-one devices are currently supported.
As an installed app, a counter of active notifications will appear as a badge on the app icon.
Share sheet integration#
When users click the share controls to share content from your forum, XenForo will trigger the built-in system share sheet for the user's device, providing a familiar native interface.
The following are absolute requirements for XenForo to enable its progressive web app functionality:
- Your site must be accessible over HTTPS / SSL.
- You must provide a title for your site of 12 or fewer characters.
- You must provide a pair of square icons for your site, one at 192 pixels width and one at 512 pixels.
While the responsive design elements require no configuration on your part, and will activate automatically on any small-screen device, the remainder of the PWA technologies require some graphical assets and configuration on your part.
All relevant settings are located in the Admin Control Panel at Setup > PWA setup.
If your main Board title is longer than 12 characters, you must enter a shortened version in the Board short title field.
Enable push notifications#
You must choose one of the languages installed on your forum to be the primary language for the progressive web app. Options are provided to allow you to make the selection.
While the styling of your progressive web app will be based on the settings of your default style, you may provide additional styling for the Meta theme color, which often colors the device interface itself, and the Page background color, upon which all content is placed.
You must provide the URLs of, or upload using the provided tools, two square icons to be used for the app.
These icons must measure 192x192 pixels, and 512x512 pixels. As a general rule, you should use PNG image format.
Ideally, these icons should be maskable, meaning that any vital graphical elements within them fit within the minimum safe zone when the icons are cropped by differing devices. If your icons are indeed maskable, check the box to confirm this.