Chibimagic's Weblog

Unsatisfying iPhone web clippery

Posted on: March 19, 2009

Since the iPhone SDK came out a year ago, Apple seems to have completely abandoned the little niceties of iPhone web app development.

They’ve had support for apple-touch-icon.png and <link rel="apple-touch-icon" /> for a while for making web clippings from MobileSafari. Some time later, they added apple-touch-icon-precomposed.png and <link rel="apple-touch-icon-precomposed" /> so you’re not forced to use Apple’s box and glass effect on your icon.

In iPhone OS 2.1, they added support for <meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" /> so web clippings look more like native apps by disabling the toolbars in MobileSafari. I finally added my PHP/AppleScript thingy to my home screen as a web clipping, but it’s dissatisfying whether or not I use this meta tag.

If I use it, it doesn’t preserve my digest authentication, so I have to log in every time I load the page. Also, after authentication, everything I click on opens in a new window in MobileSafari instead of the fake native app. If I don’t use the meta tag, it opens fine in MobileSafari, but doesn’t do the nice JavaScript scroll in my body tag (<body onload="window.scrollTo(0,1)">) which hides the top toolbar.

So, I am mildly unsatisfied with the state of web apps for the iPhone. Of course, it would be nice too if Apple provided the graphics and CSS to make fake web apps, but apparently they’ve entirely abandoned the whole web app game for their native SDK. I don’t blame them, because native » web, but in my case, it’s an easy way to write a custom solution for a personal problem.

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