Many users don’t use the official apps of their favorite web services. For example, Facebook. It makes use of some heavy background processes to make the app fully functional. This effect drains the phone’s battery, which is the biggest reason some entry-level phone users don’t use it. They switch to lite apps or browse the service using a web browser.
This guide is specifically for the users that tend to use their favorite web services using a web browser. Here, I’ll show you how you can easily create a lite version app of your favorite web service on your Android phone.
We are going to create a lite version app by using an app called Hermit. It’s technically a web browser with full freedom of customization. It allows you to customize a web service to make an app of your own. Hermit creates a shortcut with an icon of the web service on the home screen of the launcher. You can use this shortcut as a stand-alone app which can be customized to the fullest. And best of all, it’s lightweight. It makes use of the URL of the service to browse the content. It’s basically a web browser that can be completely customized to create your own standalone lite version of a web service.
Wait a minute: You must be thinking that many web browsers, including Chrome, allow users to create a shortcut of a specific URL on the home screen of the launcher. So, why use this? Well, as mentioned above it’s all about customization. No browser allows you to customize shortcuts the way you want. And, the most wanted is the standalone app kind of feel. You can only achieve that using Hermit.
Now, let’s see how you can create and customize a lite version of your favorite web service.
How to Create a Lite Version App of a Web Service on Android
Step-1: Download and install Hermit on your Android phone. You’ll need Android 4.4 and above. But, it can be best experienced on devices with Android Lollipop and above.
Step-2: Now, after opening the app you can take a tour of all the features. We’ll start by creating our first Lite version app of Reddit. You can create only 2 apps in the free version. You’ll need to pay for Premium to get access to unlimited apps. Now, open the sidebar and hit Create.
Step-3: You’ll get a list of apps that Hermit already supports. You can even add a custom URL if the service is not available on the list. Most popular services are already listed. Tap on the service and the link will open.
Step-4: Change the name of the lite app and hit CREATE on the pop-up dialogue box.
Step-5: The lite app will appear on the home screen of the launcher. Tap on the icon and now we’ll customize it.
Step-6: Tap on the settings icon on the top-right corner and from the sidebar hit Customize.
You also get other options like Block Ads and removing the frame from the top. I recommend you to select Frameless. That will give a total app like feel with only the status bar at the top.
Step-7: Here, you can choose how the lite app should behave. You can turn off tracking and even enable the data saver mode. All these options are available for all the lite apps. Now, we’ll change the theme. You can change the status bar color and frame color. Also, you get the option to change the icon from the app. However, you can change that using the launcher too.
Step-8: Now, we’ll integrate notifications with the lite app using the Notification RSS feeds of the service. Most services provide RSS feeds for specific notifications on their website. Grab the feeds link and paste it here.
You can test the feed before saving. However, the feed links for Reddit didn’t work for me. Facebook and Instagram feed links worked perfectly. There’s also a search URL field to trigger search using the lite app.
User Experience and Performance
Since it’s actually a web browser you’ll be using the mobile website of the service, the user experience might not be great. But the customizations can give you the feel of using an actual app. In terms of performance, it’s totally lightweight. It took only around 10 MB of RAM and 3.45 MB of internal storage with 2 apps on board.
Hermit is the perfect solution for the mobile website users. If you are a casual user of a service then Hermit can be the best alternative app for browsing it. Let us know your thoughts in the comments section.