How do I make an app using AppMachine?
It’s decided — you want your own app. And you’re going to make it yourself using AppMachine. But how does it work? What do you have to do? What steps do you take? And, most important, who does it? With AppMachine, it’s you! Read on. We’ll give you a general idea about how to make your own app with AppMachine. This isn’t a manual — more of an outline about how things work.
Building Your App
Before we go any further, can I really make my own app? I can’t program. I don’t know the first thing about computer language.
Yes, you really can do it yourself! You’ll make the app for iOS (Apple) and Android(Google) phones using the AppMachine website. You don’t need any special understanding of computer programming.The developers of AppMachine did the programming for you. What you do need to know is what you want to make. Then the website takes you through a variety of simple steps to help you build the app you want. All you need to do is choose a set of Building Blocks. We point out the settings and you just fill in which ones you want.
The appearance of your app is also important. To help you out with that, we’ve created an assortment of skins — the general background theme or appearance. As soon as you pick one, your app will take on its own style. We also have standard sets of icons, images and menus. You can make a nice looking app, without being an experienced designer.
I already have a website. Isn’t it a good idea to make an app that has the same style?
A website certainly makes a good starting point for your app — both in terms of appearance and content. In that case, your first step should be to get images and content from your website. Once you’ve given your app a name, you can have AppMachine scan your website. That shouldn’t take very long, it depends on how large your website is. AppMachine can scan a small website in a matter of seconds. AppMachine searches your website for photos, video clips, Facebook and Twitter accounts and RSS feeds. It then uses the information it finds to fill your app.
What if I don’t have any design experience? Can I get help?
Yes. You’ll start by choosing a skin that you think suits your app. A skin gives your app a layout including a set of colors and a style for your menus. Once you’ve scanned your website and chosen a skin, you can start building it up. To make the app look like your website, you can change the color set of your app.
It really isn’t complicated. You can add features just by choosing Building Blocks. All the programming is already in there. Just click on Add Block and you’ll see which ones you can choose from. If you click on one, it will give you a short explanation of its features. For each Building Block, you decide what content goes into it, what it looks like and the actions your app users can take — for instance, whether you want them to be able to respond. The Building Block shows you all the choices available.
So, the information in my app is in the Building Blocks?
You can add the content from your website to the Building Blocks, such as information about your company or your club. But you can also add links to information elsewhere on the Internet. You can create a link to an RSS feed, add a link to a YouTube clip, a Twitter account, even a JSON feed (a kind of dynamic data ) which lets you stream live content to your app.
Is there a way to see what the app will look like while I’m building it?
By installing the AppMachine Previewer on your smartphone, you can look at your app at any point while you’re building it — right on your phone. And you can let other people watch while you build your app.
What’s more, everything you’ve done so far is completely free of charge. You only start paying once you’re ready to publish your app in the online stores.
AppMachine apps are built to work on both iOS (Apple) and Android devices. You don’t have to do anything special. You just build the app once in our app Content Management System and we make it work in both systems. But, to bring the app to the users, it has to go into the online stores. For Apple, that’s the App Store. for Android, it’s Google Play. We take care of the publishing. Apple requires that you have a developer’s account in order to publish.
AppMachine makes sure that your app gets submitted along all the right channels. Once it’s submitted you can expect to see the Android version of your app within just a few hours. Apple approves every app before they publish it. They assess your app according to a set of technical, content and design criteria to make sure it works as it should and does not contain any objectionable language or material. So it’s a good idea to be aware of Apple’s requirements. (You can find them elsewhere on our website .) Apple can be quite strict. Their approval process can take up to two weeks.
Yes, you can. When you fill in the information needed to publish your app in the stores, you can indicate how much you want to charge. Just bear in mind that both Apple and Google Play take 30% of the proceeds. That has nothing to do with AppMachine, so it doesn’t cost you any more.
Using the App
Apple’s approval process can take up to two weeks. With Google Play, it’s usually a question of a few hours. We’ll let you know just as soon as your app is available in the online stores.
The app will pull dynamic content (Twitter, RSS feeds, Facebook, links) straight from the Internet. You can make changes to your app’s design and fixed content through our Content Management System. That works just the way it did when you first built it. So you can look at your changes and send them on to your users. You pay a fee each time you make an update. If you plan to make regular updates, you’ll be better off taking out a special subscription. After you’ve made an update, your users don’t have to download it again from the online store. The app picks up the latest data automatically the next time they start up the app.
AppMachine apps keep a lot of information in “cache” — that is, in the phone’s memory. So, if all the information is in your phone, you don’t have to be online to see it. Of course, your phone won’t pick up the latest changes if it’s offline.
Yes. All AppMachine apps make use of advanced analytics. all of which you can see in an easy-to-use dashboard. We also offer a number of ways to drill down — to see your app usage in greater detail. It’s also possible to link your own Google Analytics account to your app, so you can use that to look at certain information as well.
Almost, AppMachine will be available for everyone in late February. You can also sign up for the beta version right away.