What if I want to white-label the Discourse Mobile apps?

(Sam Saffron) #1

In the past few days since we released the iOS and Android apps a few people have asked us for the prospects of white labeling the Discourse app.

Meaning, they want to have a special app called say “my awesome forum” in the app stores that only includes access to the single forum.

  • The code for DiscourseMobile is open source and lives at: GitHub - discourse/DiscourseMobile: Discourse Mobile Notifier it is licensed under the very permissive MIT license

  • Access to our “Push Notification” server is restricted to our customers. If you white-label you would need to setup Discourse to push notifications to a server of your choice using allowed user api push urls and implement a push notification receiver that re-publishes to Apple and Android play stores.

  • We do not offer a white labeling service, we would consider it for enterprise customers as an added bundle, discuss with us privately.

  • If you white label, your app must not be confused with the official Discourse app. Ideally avoid the word Discourse when white labeling.

We always welcome contributions to the Discourse app, if you have ideas and want to improve it and make it more white label friendly, let us know.

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Custom Push Notifications: allowed user api push urls
iOS Mobile App Notifications
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@sam Discourse works very well on mobile browsers already right out of the box , can you tell me under what circumstances users would prefer to use discourse as an app ?

With an app you always have to convince users to download, install and configure before they can use the application, which to me is an unnecessary hassle. If users can access the same contents on their mobile phone browsers, why are we also asking them to download an app that essentially does the same thing?

I have been debating whether my forum needs an app and I still can’t convince myself that I need one, but am curious to hear what others feel about this topic in case I have overlooked some key aspects that an app can do.


(Daniel Marquard) #3

In my opinion, a lot of users prefer a native UX. Facebook was a good case study.

(Joshua Rosenfeld) #4

And it still does! The app doesn’t change the way you browse Discourse, you still do that in Google Chrome/Safari.

The main feature that the app has is push notifications. If you are someone who wants to know the moment you receive a notification on your site, this app is for you. Otherwise, just use your browser like normal.

(Junaid Mailk) #5

@sam Thanks for clearing this. Do you have any plan to write some how-to on making builds of Android / iOS app?



You have yet to meet internet users in Africa, in some countries upto 70% use Opera mini, because they are sold on data compression, try using it on default mode and give us feedback.


is the custom development required only on the server side? i.e. can we use the apps standard notification by implementing something on the server side or do you think we would also need some app level modifications?

(Sam Saffron) #8

Sort of, if you want the app only to show one website it is going to need some patching. Barring that all you need to build is a web service that relays push notifications to the appropriate app store.

(Penar Musaraj) #9

I would be happy to work on a fork of DiscourseMobile that adapts it for use by developers who want to release separate (whitelisted) apps for individual sites, following all the necessary caveats (i.e. avoiding the word Discourse in app name and description, connecting app and site to an independent push notifications service).

I tried to build the app though, but couldn’t, for either iOS or Android. I opened a GitHub issue to that effect here:

Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Update: I found a solution the build issue for iOS.

Whitelisted Discourse app with Push Notifications via OneSignal
Native app install banner for Android and iOS

I had the same problem with building the app.

I’m defo interested in getting this up and running for my site.

(Roland) #11

Any luck in getting this going?

(Penar Musaraj) #12

Yes, I am working on a single site whitelisted app. We’re in the final phases of the Android version, and iOS will follow shortly.

Will post an update here when ready.

(Evans Akanno) #13

What would it cost to have you guys build a mobile app for zegist.com?

I am very interested and looking to review quotes or recommendations.

(Robert McIntosh) #14

I need this too.

Notifications are a KEY to get members to check back into the forum - not just for those wanting immediate gratification, but for those who get so much email they ignore digests and feed off the beeps and alerts on their mobile instead.

If someone can build a template that all those of us with self-hosted sites could contribute to (financially) it would be great. Where did you manage to get to @pmusaraj?

(Chris Beach) #15

I totally agree.

People get their notifications via their phones now. My self-hosted forums would massively benefit from a branded app with push notifications.

(Robert McIntosh) #16

I’m not even THAT bothered about the branding since I understand that there are a lot of additional complications to getting numerous nearly-identical apps approved and maintained on multiple app stores. I would even be willing to pay to have my push notifications come through the default Discourse app despite it being self-hosted.

(Chris Beach) #17

Fair point. In fact the Discourse app is handy for my members as they may follow several of the London area forums I run.

Me too. Ideally I’d self-host a push notification server app on my own hardware, linked to the Discourse instances I self-host. Happy to make a financial contribution to the developers in order to have this.

(Penar Musaraj) #18

Hey @ChrisBeach and @robmc,
I have an update on this: a few days ago, finally, a standalone app for a Discourse site I have worked on was approved by Apple. You can find it in both app stores (iOS/Android) under the name Swapd.

So, this app is NOT using the same code as the official Discourse app. It’s inspired by it, but it’s a separate app. There is some work to be done per app to maintain, but I do have a common codebase that I am planning to use for multiple Discourse sites.

I will post the common codebase soon, once it’s cleaned up. And I am also available for improvements and bug fixes on it, so if you’re interested in a branded app, please get in touch.

(Chris Beach) #19

Excellent @pmusaraj, well done. Does this app support real-time push notifications? (I imagine you’d be running something bespoke on the server-side too if so?)

(Penar Musaraj) #20

It is using OneSignal, via this plugin: GitHub - pmusaraj/discourse-onesignal: Discourse plugin to send Push Notifications via OneSignal. (for real-time Push Notifications)