VEX Forum App

What’s your opinion on a FREE forums app on the app and play store.

There’s no need. The forums already have a format for phones that’s pretty decent.

Just a thought that came to mind

But an app would make this so legit though…

I would greatly appreciate an app that also gave notifications whenever my name was mentioned

I think an app would be great. +1

Even better, a notification anytime a post that I care about goes up, but I’m not sure how that would work :wink:

A notification app would be nice…

…Then the spammer comes and blows up my phone like I have a Note 7

On the topic of notifications, do you know if there’s a way to get browser notifications from the forum on Firefox?

Ok, I’ve investigated making an app for this type of software before, doing so would require directly parsing HTML since they’re is no API. Because of this, there are certain downsides:

  1. Any user individual actions have massive security vulnerabilities. Most websites use something like OAuth to authenticate third party software. Because no API exists, we would have store the username and password on the device. This is a huge security risk; third party apps should never have access to your credentials!
  2. The method to actually get the data would be…less than desirable. The app makers would have to manually parse the HTML of the website, either on the client, or do it on a server, and have its own API. I don’t know what would be better.
  3. Notifications would be very difficult to implement. The reason notifications are called push is because they originate from the server: the server sends data to the client. Because no API, we would have to use a resource wasteful technique called polling, where the client requests the data from the server and scans it for changes. Because overloading VEX’s servers is not something we would want to do, we would only be able to poll once every few minutes, which is not the UX we want. Implementing notifications on the website would actually be easier, since they have HTTPS, all they would need would be to implement a Service Worker, which acts as a “proxy” (client run) between the server and client, and use the Push API to send push notifications even when you don’t have the website up! Combine this with a few extra things, and you could make a reasonably good app emulator using Android’s / Safari’s “Add to Homepage” feature. Unfortunately, because of how these things are, this plan use things implemented in Desktop and Android Chrome (and some incarnations of Firefox, i.e. desktop)

Overall, I think it might actually be better to just implement some of the more modern features of web browsers then to spend the time, money, and resources needed to make an app. I would advise they go down this path, as opposed to making an app for every single different platform.

If you would like to know more about the technologies discussed in this post, here’s a good post by Matt Gaunt, a developer for Google, about implementing a Service Worker. Also, see this video by Jake Archibald, a so called “developer advocate for Google Chrome”