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Creating a budget-friendly mobile app with Ionic 4 and Joomla

By Denise Zamora

For some, Joomla might not be cool anymore, but that doesn’t mean it’s less powerful — especially if you’re using Joomlatools extensions like DOCman or TEXTman. Here's something you might find interesting — we built a mobile app on top of an existing Joomla website! With the latest development tools, you can serve your users with more than just a website, you can serve them with a modern mobile app, and it doesn’t need a hefty investment on your part.

TL;DR: We built a mobile app with Joomla serving as the backend. The only extensions we needed were DOCman and TEXTman. Development was quick and inexpensive.

The requirements

We recently had a client who needed a mobile app for their municipality. The municipality wants to connect with their citizens through news, updates, downloadable resources, and classified ads. They also want to allow residents to get in touch with them from within the mobile app.

Our approach

We used Joomla as the main platform for their website, powered by Joomlatools extensions for easy content management. We then built a mobile app using Angular/Ionic 4 which integrates with the website through a REST API.

Techstack

Ionic 4

News Info and Resources Report Categories

The mobile app was built using Ionic 4, a modern application development framework which makes it really easy to build mobile apps. Designed for cross-platform development, Ionic 4 enabled us to easily make a mobile app that works and looks great on both iOS and Android.

Joomla, TEXTman, and DOCman

TEXTman and ads

For content management, we used a simple Joomla website and installed DOCman and TEXTman. Content for news, updates, and classified ads were managed using TEXTman. We chose TEXTman because it allows you to manage content in the easiest way possible.

What about downloadable resources? We used DOCman, one of our favorite document management tools. It has a simple and intuitive UI that makes document management a breeze. It also comes with a DOClink feature which lets you insert download links right in your content. With DOCman, the municipalities can upload application forms and other official documents on their website.

Tying it all up with REST API

After setting up the Joomla website and building the mobile app frontend, it was time to bring the two together.

Joomlatools Framework, the framework that powers DOCman and TEXTman, comes out of the box with a RESTful API. Using the REST API, the mobile app can fetch content from the Joomla website and render the data beautifully.

Additional features

  • The mobile app allows users to login with their Facebook accounts.
  • We created a custom Google Maps integration plugin to quickly plot maps for classified ads and display them in the app.
  • Users can submit reports to their municipality officials.
  • We added a content restriction based on user type.

Wrapping up

Take your Joomla website to a whole new level by building a mobile app for it. This doesn’t have to cost you a fortune and it can be done rather quickly. With your Joomla website powered by Joomlatools components plus a customized mobile app, the possibilities are endless.

"Sounds great! But how can I do it?"

If you don't have the time and technical know-how to build the app yourself, we’ve got you covered. Just leave us a message and let’s make your Joomla website cool again.

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