Perch Apps: Adding functionality to your site

Article

We use Perch as our go-to CMS, and whilst this platform already provides a customisable experience, in some cases we need something extra. Perch apps are a great way to give your site some extra functionality whether it’s adding e-commerce options or simply managing your mailing lists.

If you are familiar with WordPress you can think of these as plugins. There are plenty of comparisons to be made between Perch and WordPress plugins - so why choose apps over other alternatives?

What exactly are Perch apps

Perch apps are small software packages that integrate and run alongside Perch. This allows you to create almost any kind of website. These apps are designed in a 'plug and play' style meaning that all you need to do is drop the files into your website, add your settings and you’re ready to go.

Grabaperch - the makers of Perch - provide a large number of off-the-shelf apps of their own, and as they run alongside Perch we have full control of how they show on your website, helping us meet sometimes complex requirements without compromising on features.

The benefits of apps

Unlike with most other CMS packages, Perch provides a seamless transition between apps and the main CMS, such that if you weren’t told it was an app you’d never know! Not only does this keep things tidy, but it means you can spend less time worrying about how things work and more time on what’s important to you and your business.

Whilst Perch provides us with this seamless transition, it doesn’t hold us back when it comes to functionality. It provides us with some standardised methods to streamline our development, allowing us to add detailed customisations and functionality to apps.

Along with the features of Perch, we are free to add whatever we might need, whether it’s something to help us manage dates, or a payment service to let you take payments directly through your website.

Our Perch Locator app

Our locator app for managing stockists

What if I need something bespoke?

Even though there are some excellent existing apps out there, there's sometimes a call to produce something tailored to your own individual requirements. As mentioned above we can use the existing functionality of Perch and build upon it to give you what you need.

If you’ve worked with a design team to create a tailored experience for your users, you’d want to make sure any extra functionality fits with your design. With Perch apps you aren’t locked into a design on the frontend of your site either, and you have full control on how you present the app to your users.

What have we done?

In the past we’ve developed several apps that allow customers to manage events, prevent spam and control mailing lists all from within their CMS. This ability - coupled with the apps already available for blogging, e-commerce, forms and email management (to name a few) - ensures that no matter what complex requirement your website requires we can develop a tailor made solution to help you edit everything in one interface.

For example, one of our clients required a digital platform to help manage the collection of data from their previously paper forms. As their current website was already using Perch, an app was the perfect fit. The app allows our client to build large custom web forms, using simple form inputs, file uploads right through to even allowing them to take payments. Now rather than receiving hundreds of paper forms, (some of which may have been filled out incorrectly), they can now see all the forms they’ve receive at the click of a button.

We’ve also recently created an events app which allows users to create and manage events and comes with a range of customisations. The app lets users view their current events in either a calendar, daily, monthly or yearly views. Events can be generated for multiple dates if you have an event that repeats often. It also makes no assumptions on how you’d like to display your events, so it can work on any Perch site.

Our custom events app

Our bespoke events app

What’s next?

Apps don’t need to be expensive or complex additions to your website. Having a custom application developed to your exact requirements, as opposed to finding a plugin that fits most or some of your needs is the best way to ensure you have a website that works for your business. If you’d like to know more about our bespoke website development, get in touch with us today.