In August of 2011, Well Done launched a side project of sorts: Punchnel’s, a general-interest web magazine featuring everything from poetry and short fiction to true crime and sports commentary.
As is often the case with labors of love, Punchnel’s has taken a back seat to more pressing (and paying) work over the years. So we were excited to take advantage of a break in the action late last year to give the Punchnel’s website a much-needed makeover. And now we’re equally excited to announce the brand-new Punchnel’s app, now available in the iTunes App Store.
The Punchnel’s website (like all Well Done websites) is built on the WordPress content management system. For the app, our development team used WordPress as an API to feed content directly into the app platform. “WordPress has evolved from a blogging platform to the premiere website authoring tool,” Well Done Director of Technology Brian Deer said. “Using WordPress as an API, we have the tools to take content from any WordPress site and feed it directly into an app.”
Well Done web developer Josh Apgar handled much of the heavy lifting, using an Ionic Framework to create a completely native iOS experience for users. “We used the WordPress JSON REST API to serve up all of the articles from our servers to the app,” Apgar said. Consequently, the Punchnel’s app is easily managed via the same simple WordPress interface that controls the Punchnel’s website.
We also integrated Google Mobile App analytics, allowing us to track the app’s performance independently from the website. And we added a few extra features such as bookmarking, which lets users tab stories that catch their eye for later access.
According to Brian Deer, the WordPress-as-API approach could lead to more app development for Well Done clients. “It allows us to provide full-feature, rich, custom mobile applications without the steep price often associated with apps,” Deer said. “We can also build out custom modules to meet the more complex needs of our clients.”
Want to see the Punchnel’s app in action? Don’t be shy: Download it on your iOS device right now and tell us what you think. We’ll be following along on Twitter using the hashtag #PunchnelsApp. Thanks in advance for checking it out!