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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

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Justin Cormack

You can have fullscreen web apps that look just like native apps. And there is fairly good offline support. One example is Pie Guy http://mrgan.tumblr.com/post/257187093/pie-guy which behaves just like an app including doing upgrades when online and so on.

They haven't caught on though....

dret

RTFM, i guess. thanks, justin, i wasn't aware of this (i thought all you can do is to hide the address bar), and http://developer.apple.com/safari/library/documentation/AppleApplications/Reference/SafariHTMLRef/Articles/MetaTags.html is the reference info for this. however, this seems to put the fullscreen mode entirely under the control of the page author and only works if the page author adds this proprietary apple code. i was more thinking of a fullscreen mode controlled and initiated by the browser, either on behalf of the user (like F11 on my computer), or implicitly through some context clues, such as when launching a page from a springboard bookmark.

Dominique Guinard

Nice post! Actually I'm totally with you, a ecosystem of mobile web apps would make a lot more sense.
One "patch" solution I quite like is http://www.phonegap.com which basically offers to embed a Webserver in an native app. This way you can develop your app using Web languages and tools (such as http://www.jqtouch.com/) and package it with the embedded Web server.
Of course it does not solve all the issues you mention (e.g. the approval process) but at least it lets people using the Web tools and languages they know and like...

dret

@dom, that's not my understanding of phonegap. it is my understanding that phonegap "bridges the gap" between HTML's limited access to device capabilities and the richer set of features available to native apps by providing an environment where you can use more APIs than provided in today's smartphone browsers. they do this by combining webkit and custom code that exposes additional platform features to scripts running in this ebkit environment. the side-effect of this approach is that you have to package your code with this enhanced webkit runtime and then deploy this package as an app. alternatively, you could imagine running phonegap just as an enhanced general-purpose browser with additional APIs, but that would violate the rule that app store apps are not allowed to dynamically load executable code. it seems that some phonegap apps that have been approved do load code from the web instead of having everything packaged into the installed app, but when submitting such an app, you never know whether apple is going to accept or reject it.

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