How to Convert a Laravel Web App to a Native Mobile App

Converting your Laravel web app into a mobile app is easy with MobiLoud. It's more effective and cost-efficient than rebuilding your app with a new framework, and lets you maintain all the features from your web app, and manage everything from a single codebase.

Everything works out of the box, and you'll be able to build fully-functional, professional, native mobile apps for a fraction of the cost of a custom mobile app. Keep reading and we'll explain how it works.

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How to Convert a Laravel Web App to a Mobile App

MobiLoud makes turning your Laravel website into a mobile app easy.

You don't need to rebuild anything or learn a new framework. There's little effort and overhead involved, yet your apps come out looking like high-quality native mobile apps.

Here's how it works.

  1. Optimize your Laravel app's UI for mobile, ensuring your web app is mobile-friendly and responsive.
  2. Go to MobiLoud and preview your app.
  3. Choose a plan (there are no long-term contracts or commitments, and plans start from just $199/month).
  4. Discuss any special requirements you have with our team, then wait two weeks for the first build.
  5. Test the apps on your own devices, and relay any change requests to the team.
  6. Wait for us to launch the final version.
  7. We publish your Laravel mobile app to the app stores.

Now let's dive deeper into everything you need to know about converting a Laravel website to mobile apps.

Can Laravel Be Used in Mobile Apps?

Laravel is a free, open-source PHP framework for “web artisans”, powering nearly 2 million sites, web apps and enterprise systems across the internet, and is well known for being a logical and solid framework that lets you harness the entire power of PHP once you know what you’re doing.

Laravel is an excellent framework for web development, but that’s where it begins and ends - for the web.

It’s not possible to build an Android app and/or an iOS app using the core Laravel framework and functionality you use for your Laravel website. 

So let's say your Laravel web app is doing well, you're happy with the user experience you provide to web users, but to stay relevant moving forward, you feel you need to offer that same experience as a mobile app, which users can download and install on their devices.

Is there a way to do this, without throwing away the Laravel codebase you’ve put so much work into?

There are two options if you want to convert your Laravel website to a mobile app. You can rebuild the front end for mobile, or convert it to a hybrid app with MobiLoud

Read on and we'll go into detail on both, and explain why MobiLoud is the best option for you.

Two Ways to Convert Your Laravel Project to Mobile Apps

You’ve built a cool web app using Laravel. It works great in browsers on desktop and mobile. But unfortunately, there is no magic button that allows you to just turn your Laravel app into native apps that run on mobile operating systems.

For your app to run on a mobile OS, outside of the browser, you need additional code that deals with how your content is going to be rendered on the user’s screen, or how exactly to detect user input, which Laravel is not built to do.

If you don’t want to abandon your existing code entirely, you’ve got two options: Rebuild and Repackage.

Option 1: Rebuild as a Native App

This is the most technically and financially challenging option. 

Firstly, you’ll need to build an API from your Laravel app to use it as a ‘back end’. You won’t be able to use your existing codebase to create the front end of your mobile apps, so you will have to rebuild the features and functionalities of your existing web app for the iOS and Android platforms.

This requires a mobile programming language such as:

This is certainly doable, and it’s the most powerful way to build native mobile apps – but requires skilled mobile developers and several months to get a first version ready to launch. It may or may not be worth it depending on your goals – and it might not even be necessary.

Option 2: Repackage as a Hybrid App with MobiLoud

If your Laravel web app works well on a mobile browser now, it should work just as well as a mobile app.

Instead of rebuilding the entire front end for mobile, you can use webviews to display your existing Laravel website within the exterior of a native mobile app.

A webview is like a dedicated browser for your web app that can be installed on users phones and published on Google Play and the App Store just like any other app.

According to UX Matters:

“We know that Facebook, Evernote, Instagram, LinkedIn, Uber, Slack, Twitter, Gmail, the Amazon Appstore, and many others are or have been Webview apps. Quora is a Webview app of some sort, with a few clearly native components along the edges”
quora native web
How a wrapper app works - utilizing mobile UI elements with webviews that show your live site.

It is your Laravel app functioning as native mobile apps from the perspective of the user. The best thing about repackaging your app in a webview is that you can get to market fast for 10% of the standard cost.

Our platform, MobiLoud, is the ultimate way to build webview apps. While webviews have a reputation as cheap, low-performance ways to build apps, our platform, which we’ve perfected over 10+ years and 2,000 successful app launches, ensures your app looks and feels like a custom native app.

It’s more than a simple webview; we added all the native features you need to give a smooth user experience and achieve your mobile goals – and we provide everything as a service.

This lets you go to market far quicker and cheaper than rebuilding, and better yet, you’ll still only have one codebase to manage.

How to Rebuild a Laravel Website as a Native Mobile App 

Recreating the features and functionality of your Laravel web app for native mobile operating systems is a pretty challenging process. Essentially, you’re building the apps from scratch, using your Laravel web app as a backend, and linking the two up.

First, you’ll need to build the API that your mobile app can use for your Laravel app to function as the backend of your mobile app.

Laravel certainly has the ability to do this, and it will be doable, but it will take a decent amount of time, especially if your website is on the larger end.

Next, you’ll need to build the front end.

This is where you’re really going to sink a lot of time and money.

To start with, you’ll need to figure out which framework(s) to use.

You could build fully native iOS and Android apps, using Swift (or Objective-C, though Swift is largely today’s standard) for iOS and Java/Kotlin for Android.

Alternatively, you can use React Native or Flutter to build for both platforms with one framework, saving time and effort.

But either way, it’s going to be a lot of work to rebuild what you already have on the web using the new framework. 

Finally, you’ll need to link them together, so your new front end uses the same codebase on the back end.

All in all, it will likely take a couple of full time developers several months to complete. You’re looking at over $100,000 to get first versions ready for both platforms. 

The work will never really be finished either, with routine updates and maintenance costing you 10-20% of the initial cost annually. 

Keep in mind that you’ll need to maintain your new mobile apps, and now any time you make a change to your website, such as adding a new feature or making adjustments to your UI, you’ll need to make those changes twice.

How to Convert Your Laravel Website as Mobile Apps

Webview apps (or wrapper apps) are a much more efficient way to convert a website to mobile apps today, and come with a very minimal dropoff in performance.

If your Laravel web app works well on mobile right now – it can also work well as a mobile app. The logic, features and flow will be preserved, and in most cases there is no need to add anything crazy that can only be achieved with a custom built native app.

Back in 2016 we started looking for an effective wrapper solution and we couldn’t find anything that met our needs, which were:

  • Chrome and Safari are generally ahead of iOS and Android’s webviews in terms of performance and functionality, the standard webview element therefore needs to be carefully configured to optimize performance and features will need to be built to be able to handle link clicks and navigation as expected
  • It should allow ongoing updates to the configuration without requiring an update of the app in the stores
  • It should provide at least some native navigation features, to make sure the app feels intuitive to mobile users accustomed to native apps, and to satisfy Apple’s requirements
  • It needs to integrate with a push notifications service and provide user settings for notifications
  • It should integrate analytics and crash logging features, to ensure stable and fast operation
  • It should give users visual clues when the web app is loading, both on start and on subsequent page loads – a user will think something is broken if they’re left staring at a white screen for seconds
  • It should be constantly kept up to date with the latest SDK updates to make sure it runs stable on all versions of Android and iOS and continues being compatible with the analytics and other services the app integrates

We didn’t find anything on the market that did everything above, so we built this solution for our own customers. We called it MobiLoud, and to date we’ve published over two thousand apps through the platform.

A mobile-optimized website, converted to a mobile app with MobiLoud

This is the best solution if you want to maintain your same codebase, use the same features, content and data in your app, and give mobile app users a real native app experience, without sinking hundreds of thousands of dollars each year managing a new platform.

We simply repackage your Laravel website in native mobile code, giving you apps that are fully synced with your website, yet look and feel like custom mobile apps.

Want a sneak peek at what your Laravel site could look like as an app? Get a free preview of your app in 30 seconds - all you need is your site’s URL.

Convert Your Laravel Web App to Mobile Apps with MobiLoud

MobiLoud is a platform for converting any web app, including Laravel, into winning iOS and Android apps. We took the web view concept and refined it over several years, adding native features to make up for the typical limitations of this approach.

If your Laravel app is fast on the mobile web, your mobile apps will be fast too. MobiLoud uses resource caching and the latest webview technology to make sure this is the case. 

We built everything into MobiLoud to ensure an optimal user experience and make sure that the App Store guidelines are met. Let’s take a look at a few of the reasons why you should choose MobiLoud to convert your Laravel app.

Done For You

This is perhaps the biggest difference between our approach and cheap templates you might find. We take great care of each customer signing up with us, completely configure their app and test it extensively before the apps are submitted. We guarantee the approval of your app and your full satisfaction, or your money back.

Our work doesn’t end here, we keep your app updated as needed and provide ongoing technical support for anything you might need – it’s like having our whole team of app developers working for you.

Native User Experience

All MobiLoud apps have a configurable native tab menu and native navigation to give users a better, familiar experience that makes moving around your app easy. 

Native loading indicators and splash screens also help with this, never leaving the user wondering if your app is working or not, as was often the case with other wrappers.

Push Notifications

MobiLoud gives you unlimited push notifications on both iOS and Android. Your users will also have a message center and push preferences which improves their experience and the effectiveness of the channel.

We integrate with OneSignal, offering an easy to use web dashboard to send messages to app users. You can also use their excellent REST API to make mobile notifications part of your web application.

Customizable

You’ll have a lot of control to customize the appearance of your apps and by setting up the menus how you see fit. 

Splash screens and all graphic elements including icons are also customized for you.

A Complete Service

MobiLoud is more than a tool, it’s a service. 

We kick everything off with a consultation and go over your goals and vision for the apps and explain the whole process to you. Then you have the option to use our configuration tool yourself to build your apps, or you can just have our team do it for you. 

Either way, you’ll have a lot of opportunity to test the apps on your own device and make any necessary changes or customizations.

When everything is ready, we’ll take over and prepare your apps for publishing on iOS and Google Play. We handle the process entirely and extensively test your apps prior to submission, so we guarantee they will be approved (or we’ll refund you). 

After the apps are launched it’s time to celebrate. But our support doesn’t end there. As part of our service we handle all ongoing updates and maintenance, all included in the simple, monthly fees you pay for license and support – so there’s no need to worry about the expensive surprises that crop up all too often with native app development. 

You’ll manage the apps through our simple dashboard, and we’ll always be only an email away if you need anything. The iOS and Android apps will be 100% synced with your Laravel apps, so there’s nothing to really add to your workflow – it couldn’t be more simple. 

MobiLoud Laravel app examples

MobiLoud works with any website or web app. Several start-ups with Laravel platforms have used MobiLoud to build mobile apps too and had great results. A good example is health-tech company RespiTrac, who used Laravel to build a suite of tools to help Asthma patients and their physicians to manage their treatment and symptoms.

The team at RespiTrac searched for the right Laravel to mobile app solution for some time, but in the end opted for MobiLoud as the most efficient route to the App Store and Google Play.

According to Barry Cantrell, RespiTrac's product manager:

“I think MobiLoud is a great product, and great value for the investment. It’s just what we needed. If somebody needs a mobile app version of what they built on Laravel – it’s a great choice”

RespiTrac's MobiLoud apps are now live on iOS and Android, and have succeeded in creating a great mobile experience for their customers.

“Overall, having apps in our pocket is a huge deal. Although we’re still in the early stages, overall the effect has been very positive”

You can read more about their story here.

Ready to Take Your Laravel Website to the App Store?

If you already have a great product out there on the web – MobiLoud is the best choice to leverage that into mobile apps. 

The next step is to book a free consultation with one of our app experts. They'll explain the ins and outs of the process, show you some examples, and answer any queries you have.

From there, we’ll build your apps, publish them to the app stores, and take care of everything to do with app development for you, allowing your focus to remain squarely on maintaining a great website.

Convert your Laravel app to mobile apps today. Book a Free Consultation to get started!

Get a working preview of your app prepared by our team. Your MobiLoud app integrates with your entire tech stack, works with all custom features, and automatically syncs with everything on your site in real time.
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