Worona, a Madrid-based WordPress startup that builds mobile apps for free, has created an app for WordCamp Europe attendees. The WCEU Paris Guide app includes location and transportation information, schedules for the event, suggestions on where to eat (restaurants, bistros, a selection of the best cheap eats), a list of top attractions and museums, and nightlife recommendations.
Worona has released an Android app and an iOS app for attendees to download. Currently the app needs to be connected to the internet, but the company is working on supporting an offline mode in the next version, which is rolling out soon.
“We used our online platform to turn a WordPress blog (paris.worona.org) into a native app,” Reyes Martínez, Worona’s marketing and communications specialist, said. “We use React and fetch the content using the WP-API. The apps are created with Cordova.”
Worona is a relatively new WordPress startup in Europe, having released its first prototype in late 2014. The company offers its mobile app building platform to users for free via its plugin on WordPress.org. The platform turns WordPress sites into native mobile apps that users can publish to the app stores. Worona can also manage the process of publishing the app for a one-time 290€ fee.
In 2016, Worona had more than 12,000 users from 150 different countries. After launching its new platform four months ago, more than 11,500 users have signed up.
Martínez said that Worona differs from existing WordPress app builders in that it is free, user-friendly, completely open source, and extensible.
“We studied the WordPress ecosystem and the mobile distribution trends during the last three years and realized that other existing solutions, such as AppPresser, are just focused on one or two mobile channels, but not in all of them,” Martínez said. “This can be a problem for publishers, as they have to configure the different channels (apps, web apps, AMP, Facebook Instant Articles) one by one and take care of being consistent with all of them. After launching our own beta in 2015 and testing similar solutions, we decided to develop an all-in-one platform with the vision of becoming the leading solution for mobile distribution.”
Worona is also aiming to create an ecosystem of extensions and themes for the platform, allowing third-party developers to create new solutions.
“The strategy of creating a marketplace of extensions has been successfully accomplished by the WordPress ecosystem before (but not by any of our direct competitors),” Martínez said. “WooCommerce, for example, gives you access to a variety of extensions aiming to solve any problems related to your e-commerce. Because it is open-source, these features can be created by any developer or user. The bigger the community, the higher the range of solutions.”
Worona is currently a team of five, including two co-founders, a marketing specialist, and two full-stack developers. Most of the team will be at WordCamp Europe. They hope the WCEU Paris Guide app will be useful for attendees and also provide a good introduction to their product. If you have any feedback that would make the app more useful, make sure to comment on the announcement and Worona may be able to incorporate user suggestions before the event.