“Budget” versions of popular apps are coming out left and right these days. Among the success stories is Facebook Lite, which is in fact just a webview with the official browser version – it takes up way less space and considerably improves performance, to boot. In this vein, Hermit is an Android app to create lite versions of any web service and turn it into a fully independent app with its own viewing traits. To go back to the Facebook example, while the official app eats up a crapload of RAM and space, the web client needs no more space than that taken up by the browsing cache. Sounds good, yeah?
Just go into Hermit and you’ll see that you can create a shortcut to practically any webpage, with a list for Lite versions of some of the most popular apps suggested by default. You can use any URL you want, though obviously its features will only be those included on the browser version by default. But later you can customize the browsing and even add links to different sections of the page inside your own custom menu.
Once you select a page you can give it a name at the bottom (the icon is the same as for the website). Then comes the most interesting bit: the option to customize the look and behavior of the webview to adapt it to your needs. You can make your lite app run in fullscreen, remove the frame or Android navigation bars, set the page to refresh when you swipe vertically, remove ads and stop image loading, change the size of the font, and even edit the color of the masthead, among other things. You might even get to the point that the app looks nothing like the original site thanks to this array of options.
Once all that’s done you’ll have your app on your device’s home screen, where it will act like any other app and stack up with other open apps. You do still have to keep Hermit installed in order to use any app you create with it. That said, the basic version of Hermit only lets you use two Lite apps at the same time. If you want to go past that you’ll need to upgrade to Premium.