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To provide a web app to your App Catalog users, you can choose to add a hybrid app to EASE. A hybrid app delivers a web app as part of a native iOS or Android application. Like any other native app, users will need to download and install the app on their devices before they can run it. This is different from web apps, which do not need to be installed and can be launched directly from the App Catalog to run in the mobile device's web browser. Also, because a hybrid app is delivered as a native app, you can leverage all the features of EASE that are available for native applications only. For example, you can apply policies to a hybrid app, sign it with the Signing Server, and use reports to track its download history.

With a hybrid app, the web app displays in an embedded web view that provides access to the application's functionality without all the features of a fully developed browser. For example, users will not see an address bar that reveals the URL of the web app. When you create a hybrid app, you can select different options to control the app's user interface. You can also specify whitelists and blacklists to control a user's access to URLs when running the app.

For instructions on adding a hybrid app to EASE, see Add an Application. For instructions on editing a hybrid app to change its metadata, web URL, or other attributes, see Edit or Update an Application.

 

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User Interface Options

When you create a hybrid app, you can make the following choices to control the app's user interface:

    • Show navigation bar at top of web view (iOS and Android): If you select this option, a navigation bar with Back, Forward, and Reload Page buttons will show at the top of the web view.

    • Allow links to open tabs (iOS only): If you select this option, links will open in a new tab within the web view rather than re-use the current tab. If the user later closes the new tab, focus returns to the original tab. Note that this option is designed to work only with links that are defined with the JavaScript window.open method; other types of links will open in the current tab. For developer details on creating links with this method, see Window open() Method.
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    • Allow app to open files in other apps (iOS and Android): If you select this option, users can tap on links in the hybrid app to open files in other apps. For example, if the app links to a PDF file, the user will be able to choose from a menu to open that file in any PDF viewer app available on the device.  If you do not enable this option, the hybrid app will instead attempt to open the file directly in the webview. Note that in a hybrid Android app, the webview cannot open PDF files, so you should enable this option if the app includes links to that file type.

      With iOS, this feature supports multiple file types. With Android, it currently supports PDF files only. If you want your hybrid Android app to open different files types in other apps, please contact support@apperian.com.

URL Access Lists (Whitelists and Blacklists)

When you create a hybrid app, you can define a whitelist and/or blacklist to control a user's access to URLs while working in the application. A whitelist authorizes access to a specific list of URLs; when users are using the app, they cannot access any URLs that do not match entries in the whitelist. A blacklist blocks access to a specific list of URLs, even if those URLs are in the whitelist. When you enable access lists, you also provide the URL for a page to which users will be redirected when they try to access an unauthorized page.

Example

In this example, an EASE administrator creates a hybrid app for the Example Company Portal web site at http://www.example.com. He enables access lists to specify that users of the app can access everything in http://*.example.* except for pages under https://example.com/finance and https://example.com/hr/benefits.

WhitelistBlacklist
http://*.example.*https://*.example.*                    https://example.com/finance, https://example.com/hr/benefits    

The "Finance" link on the page points to a page under https://example.com/finance. When a user clicks on that link, EASE redirects the web view to the custom "unauthorized access" page.

For additional considerations, review the following guidelines. For instructions on adding a hybrid app to EASE, see Add an Application.

Other Guidelines

Consider these additional guidelines when creating and managing a hybrid app in EASE:

  • When you add a Hybrid iOS App, EASE creates a new native iOS app. When you add a Hybrid Android App, EASE creates a new native Android application. In the Applications list, the hybrid app is listed as an Android app or an iOS app—not as a hybrid app.
     

     

  • Both iOS and Android apps need to be digitally signed before they can be distributed to your App Catalog users, therefore you need to sign the hybrid app after you add it. You cannot enable the app until it is signed. EASE provides a signing server that lets you sign apps directly through the EASE Portal. You can store signing credentials in the EASE database then choose from a list of stored credentials when you want to sign an app, or you can provide credentials "on the fly" that are used that one time only. For instructions, see Sign an Application.

    If you do not want to sign the app directly through EASE, you can download a signing package that includes the app's IPA or APK file. Note, however, that if you use the signing package to sign the app outside of EASE, you will need to add a new app to upload the app after it is signed; you will not be able to edit the app that you added in order to upload the signed version. You can avoid this additional step by using the Signing Server.

     

  • When you edit an iOS or Android app that was created by adding a hybrid app, you can specify to rebuild the hybrid application. Rebuilding is required if you want to change the web URL for the hybrid app, or modify its user interface options or access lists (whitelist and blacklist). You may also choose to rebuild the app's binary for other reasons. For example, you may want to rebuild the hybrid app using a new release of EASE that takes advantage of more recent system architectures. If you have any questions about when a rebuild may be recommended, contact support@apperian.com.  For instructions on editing and rebuilding a hybrid app, see Edit or Update an Application.