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How to transform a native app into a Super App

of the most remarkable new features of GeneXus 18 is that it allows transforming an existing native application, developed with any technology, into a Super App.

Thanks to GeneXus, any application, regardless if it was developed with GeneXus or not, can become a Super App. This makes it possible for already popular solutions to scale to Super Apps without the need for additional programming work.

What is a Super App?

A Super App is a digital ecosystem offering a wide range of services that are not necessarily related to each other, but that coexist within the same application. They are usually created as an application that addresses a specific need and then evolve to provide other services.

“With GeneXus 18, it is possible to convert an existing application into a Super App with all the Mini Apps it needs. These Mini Apps will be dynamically loaded; that is, they will not be previously installed on the device, but will be downloaded and executed as native applications on demand and at the user’s discretion. Mini Apps can be developed in-house or by third parties, through partners,” explains Pablo Mazzilli, expert in Super Apps with GeneXus.

Below is a summary of the necessary steps to convert an existing native application into a Super App, shared by Mr. Mazzilli in the presentation Super Apps & Mini Apps with GeneXus 18 offered during the Enterprise Low-Code 2022 event.

Steps to convert an existing native application into a Super App

Step 1

“Include the GeneXus Render, which is the module that will allow that existing application to become a Super App, and thus be able to dynamically load Mini Apps. This module is available for Android and Apple. Therefore, you will be able to include it quite easily in your XCode or Android Studio projects.”

Step 2

“Obtain the list of Mini Apps, which must be catalogued in the Mini App Center; that is, the repository or platform where all the Mini Apps will be registered and catalogued. From there, the Super App administrator will grant the permissions for that Mini App to be part of the application. GeneXus Render will have the ability to access, through an API, the list of Mini Apps that are suitable for this Super App, or that were developed for this one.”

Step 3

Design the interface that will be presented to users to discover and access the different Mini Apps.

The API that returns the list of Mini Apps has different functionalities:

  • Display the complete list of Mini Apps, which can be displayed as a horizontal list or however is considered to be more convenient for users.
  • Show the list of Mini Apps that are relevant for a certain moment or time window.
  • Show the list of Mini Apps that are close to the user, either because of their location, or because they are associated with a physical place or store.

Step 4

“Develop those functions to be exposed to the Mini App developers. These integration mechanisms are the functionalities that minimize friction on the part of users. For example, to make a payment through the Super App in such a way that that each Mini App doesn’t have to implement it or have direct access to that information.”

About payment methods

“It is an interaction that can be silent or through a screen; that is, the Super App could display a screen with all the payment methods that the user has registered in the Super App. The Mini App will not be aware of this information, because it will only make the invocation. The Super App will be in charge of making the payment and returning the result of that action to the Mini App. If the payment is successful, it will be the authorization code of that payment, or an error otherwise.”

Step 5

“Model and develop Mini Apps (if you know how to build a mobile solution with GeneXus, you will know how to create a Mini App). In fact, the applications currently in the stores can be generated as Mini Apps for a Super App. In some cases, the resources established by the Super App administrators must be taken into account, and they can be design elements or graphics, integration with payment platforms, and so on.”

Step 6

“Deploy the Mini App. The back-end services are deployed just like in any other mobile application. As for the front-end component, instead of compiling and publishing it, what should be done is to catalog it in the Mini App Center. That is to say, the result of this generation process with GeneXus already has all the necessary information (metadata) to be able to publish it in the Mini App Center. How and where? Where the Super App administrators have given us access to publish it.”

Step 7

“Wait for it to be reviewed. Once the Mini App is published, the Super App administrators must test the solution to determine that it actually works in the Super App. When those tests are successfully passed, the Mini App will be available to be accessed from the Super App. At runtime, what we’re going to see is that the Super App is going to connect through an API to the Mini App Center to get the list of Mini Apps that are available for use in that Super App.”

Step 8

“Once the user selects one of those Mini Apps, the application is automatically downloaded and rendered entirely natively within the Super App. Also, the user starts interacting with that Mini App, which in turn will have access to its own back-end services.”

GeneXus and Super Apps

GeneXus has all these components to build a complete Super App and Mini App solution, and the biggest advantage is the ability to transform any native application into a Super App.

In addition, GeneXus provides all the resources, modules, documentation, and GitHub examples for you to transform your application into a Super App, as well as model and build Mini Apps through the Native Mobile generator.

At the same time, work is already underway (it is in beta stage) to create the Super App from GeneXus itself.

“GeneXus is the only platform that provides all the components and technology to build an end-to-end Super App. GeneXus has over 30 years’ experience in the market, automatically generating code to create innovative solutions with minimal effort. In addition, we can not only provide all the products that make up this ecosystem, but through our network of partners we can help clients build the complete vision of Super App and Mini Apps,” points out Mr. Mazzilli.

To learn more about this topic, or to contact the GeneXus team, please click on the link below: https://www.genexus.com/en/products/super-apps

You may also be interested in reading:

Benefits of Super Apps

Differences between Super Apps, Mini Apps and Mini Programs

How does a Super App work?

WeChat, what is it and what does it have to do with GeneXus?

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