Forums Apps on iOS and MacOS

Thanks. I finally managed to quote by loading the forum on Safari. It wasn’t working while I accessed the forum via the Discourse app. I’m on iPhone X, iOS 12 beta 2.

I had no idea about this one. If this is the case, then trying to integrate Tapatalk makes no sense at all, and I agree with you. Doesn’t change my feeling about using native apps vis-a-vis accessing a forum via mobile browser, though.

By the way, even though I now know how to quote on the mobile browser, still not sure how to Multi-quote :disappointed:

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Multiple quotes work fine for me, I just select each item to quote and use the button.

Very odd, I’m using the same device and same OS. Hmm!

Not at all. I just hope you don’t feel like I’m being dense. :wink:

Just to be clear, support for Tapatalk from Discourse would likely be possible, but given the current app for Discourse, it’s highly unlikely.

Can you help me understand these “returns?” I’ve heard requests for Tapatalk a few times or a native app (not a wrapper) but each time I struggle to get a technical list of the missing feature set that’s being referred. If we could nail down 10 important aspects, then I could either put together an argument for it or consider building it myself.

Me, too! But I’m not on the beta because I don’t want to risk it. :man_shrugging:

Yes, but at the same time, my business revolves around it. So if there’s a market for it…

There is the ability to build a whitelisted app for a specific Discourse instance. So you would be able to search MPU Talk on the App Store and have a dedicated app for this forum. This would still be a wrapper, but a slightly different feel. I’d be interested in knowing if that’s any different in your mind.

But again, from a feature set and feel, I’d like to know what’s missing. And if you want to chat about it privately, hit me up with a PM. :+1:


Another side note: if you do add this site to your home screen as an icon it behaves a little differently. At least it does on my iPhone X. How does that compare?

Before I start writing about this, I wanted to identify something @RosemaryOrchard wrote above, that Discourse currently doesn’t support Tapatalk. I just happened to check out on Tapatalk’s website regarding which forum software it currently supports, and Rose’s statement seems to be correct. Keeping that in light, I am not sure anymore if the RoI is good. Nevertheless, assuming it’s as easy to set up Tapatalk with Discourse as it is with phpBB or IPBoard, here’s what I’d like to list:

  1. Let’s try to identify MPU’s target audience — those who like Apple products => (listen to MPU podcast | were part of the FB group) && (have no qualms about using a traditional-ish forum software as a means to communicate). Chances are, a user like that is also following other communities. One example could be those at MacRumors. Now, for someone who already consumes content on a forum (not Reddit), chances are they are already part of Tapatalk. Now, even though that number will be small, these will be hardcore forum enthusiasts, and potentially very strong ambassadors for MPU. Doing something that makes their life easier is not a bad idea. Integration with Tapatalk will mean them being able to integrate all their forum consumption in one place. For those who are not so hardcore yet, installing the Discourse web wrapper or Tapatalk won’t be much of a difference anyway.
  2. A native app is always more efficient in managing a mobile’s resources (memory, processing power etc) than a progressive web app (PWA). Thankfully our target audience is Apple enthusiasts, who probably at least have iPhones, a really powerful device, irrespective of the generation. Still, the experience of a PWA on an old device like the 5S or the 6 will be much worse than that of a native app, coded by a brilliant developer. Quality of the dev is important because chances of screw-ups on memory management are more if a native app is developed by a novice.
  3. Notifications — Personally, I am yet to get a single native push notification on my Discourse app. Now, I am not sure if that’s because I’m running iOS beta, or because the app doesn’t send a notification in the first place. In case I assume it’s the latter, then this is probably the number 1 reasons to have a native app support.
  4. This is not exactly a reasons, but more of a question. Why do you think the Discourse web wrapper app was needed to be built? Was it solely to work as a bookmark for all Discourse fora one is subscribed to? Couldn’t regular browser bookmarks have fulfilled that?
  5. The overall UX of a native app is always better than that of a PWA. For example, even on the wrapper app, if I want to tap on something that’s towards the bottom of the page, it is the bottom of the wrapper that will come up, instead of the click happening. Which means, I will have to click again to do whatever I intended to do before. Another example being, a native app can easily save a user’s draft comment on the device, even if the user ends up losing the connectivity at a crucial moment. If you need more convincing on this point, I’ll take a few more minutes to think up a few more instances.

I admit, I don’t have 10 points for you to consider, right now. Heck, given that Tapatalk doesn’t have easy integration with Discourse yet, I doubt I would even urge you to consider this anymore. But I did outline a couple.

As long as it’s just a wrapper, I am not sure it will solve any purpose. The only way it could help is with marketing. But then again, for anyone who knows about MPU, I am not very sure how many of them are actually searching for the brand name on the App Store. This will warrant some user research first. The reason I feel Tapatalk has better discovery options since those who are active on fora are (most likely) already on Tapatalk, and are looking for new interesting avenues to communicate on. In case you guys have some contacts in MacRumors, I’d urge you to speak with those guys and understand what they might have learnt for the Tapatalk experience. If I’m not wrong, even the iMore forums are on Tapatalk.

I chose to reply publicly so that others too could pitch in with their thoughts. I hope that’s okay.

I’ll admit, I was thinking of deleting the Discourse app, and just create a shortcut of the forum on my home screen. That way, I’ll have a cleaner experience of the forum, almost app-like, without any browser’s header and footer sections. Alas! Looks like it can’t save cookies, and thus login sessions. It needs me to login every time I launch the forum. That got me curious, and I tried to create a few more home shortcuts — Google, Yahoo, Reddit & Gmail. Turns out, they all keep the logged in sessions because they launch the shortcuts on the actual browser, and not like a stand-alone app, like in the case of the MPU forum. I will need to dig a bit deeper into it, but it seems like the stand-alone app-like shortcuts happen in the case of PWA’s only. Not yet 100% sure about it though.

By the way, I actually had to switch to macOS to write this reply since handling multi-quotes, even on the iPad Pro, was turning out to be a messy affair.

Just double checking. Are you on the Discourse web wrapper app?

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I can chime in to say I’m using the Discourse app, and I can quote (in fact, I used it for this reply).

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I’m following several forums which are all discourse based (OmniGroup, Drafts, Priducity Guild), that may make the app more worthwhile for you :slight_smile:

From my reading we can’t offer push notifications right now because we’re rolling our own hosting, Joe knows better than I do how that works though.


I don’t mind the app, it serves the purpose in a simple enough way.

Two things that I would change: There is no easy way to get back to the main forum - I swipe left, which I assume is essentially pressing back on the browser.

I find the “Done” button at the top very annoying as I keep pressing it to get out of a thread and I end up exiting the forum altogether. No doubt I’ll get used to it in time, but it seems to be a symptom of being a wrapper app.

Just a couple of thoughts from someone who hasn’t used the app before - it’s still a lot better than Facebook :slight_smile:

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Oh one more thing, sorry!

This might be a setting, but whenever I open a thread I end up at the last comment, but my preference would be to start at the top and read the conversation in order

Works for me. :wink:

To me, there are two points to work through here:

  1. Integrating Discourse into Tapatalk.
  2. Building a native app specifically for Discourse forums.

I’ll start with #1:

In my personal experience, I’ve followed a lot of forums but never installed Tapatalk or had any interest in an app for a forum. The only reason I have the Discourse app installed is that I’m an admin on a number of them and need a consolidated place to view PMs. Just because I join a Discourse forum doesn’t mean it’s in the app. But this is just me and I know I’m an edge case.

That said, I think that between the two options, Tapatalk would be more likely to happen. It would be easier to start with their app as a base versus starting over.

Now for #2:

Bingo! Now I’ve got a point to work with. I can stand on that one. But it’s one of 10.

Currently, Discourse only supports the notifications on their hosted instances. So they won’t work on a self-hosted install like this. That’s a sticking point for me, but if you dig into the technical rationale, it makes sense. I won’t bore you with those details.

The primary reason was to bring push notifications to their hosted customers.

This has become a secondary reason. It wasn’t part of the initial rationale but has become a core reason for keeping it.

Technically, yes. At least, without the badges in play. But in my situation I have 14 Discourses in the app that all give me badges about when there’s something I need to check. That would be a nightmare of constant checking with bookmarks.

False! I’ve seen a lot of very poor native apps that should’ve been wrappers.

Discourse thought this one through. It’s why it saves your drafts every few seconds. You can have a bunch of drafts at once, too.

Yes, please. :wink:

Persoally, I’m a little concerned your OS is buggy. Of course, I have no way to confirm this, but the IT person in me gets a little nervous.

Tap/click the header logo in the top left. That’ll take you to the homepage.


I’ll happily volunteer my time to build a native iOS app branded to MPU. If there’s any interest just let me know. I’m teaching an iOS workshop, so I could fold the project into the curriculum. It would also let me become more involved in the group.


Also thank you for all your hard work in putting this together @RosemaryOrchard, @joebuhlig


I know that this topic is old, but if anybody comes across this topic and is wondering, there is finally a native app for Discourse forums such as MPU.