Apple working on improvements to Web-based iPhone SDK

Posted:
in iPhone edited January 2014
Apple is reportedly working on solutions that will help developers gain more exposure for their Web-based iPhone apps, but presently holds no plans to issue a "true" software developers kit (SDK) that would allow for native third-party application development.



Our friends over at Ars are citing what we believe to be a reliable source in saying that the Cupertino-based company is currently working on a handful of updates to Safari and the iPhone that may address some of the more common gripes developers are waging regarding their ability to write useful apps for the touch-screen handset.



"For example, Apple is currently jamming on adding offline storage capabilities to Safari -- something that would rival Google Gears in being able to serve up web applications locally without having to access the Internet," Ars writes.



The publication's sources say that the project is entirely geared towards the iPhone, with the goal of making the current WebKit-based iPhone 'SDK' more functional from a developer standpoint, in turn allowing them to produce more user-friendly applications for end users.



Those same sources say that because of this, the SDK will remain web-based, where applications will continue to be based primarily on a mix of HTML, CSS, and AJAX technologies, rather than native Mac OS X APIs.



Still, Ars hints at the distinct possibility that Apple as part of its improvements will offer "more local JavaScript access to useful iPhone functionalities, and developers might eventually also be able to create home screen icons that will point to their (presumably) offline web apps."



As for why Apple continues to block efforts on the part of developers to write more powerful native applications for iPhone, their sources have no concrete explanation. However, once source offered the following quote as part of his theory: "[Steve] Jobs is a control freak and doesn't want people messing with perfection."
«13

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 54
    Who cares about web apps? We want native 3rd party apps. Apple is going down a dark path!
  • Reply 2 of 54
    nevenneven Posts: 54member
    If this is true, it's bittersweet news for me. As a web developer I would certainly appreciate some real support with iPhone web apps from Apple, but as an iPhone user, I'm a little disappointed that web apps are all we'll get.



    Here's hoping that:



    1) We get an actual SDK, not a few scattered tech papers. Something Dashcode-like?

    2) It lets web apps pop out of Safari and run full-screen

    3) It gives us capabilities beyond what's currently possible on the web



    This *could* support quite decent apps, if done right. But until an iPhone web app runs ONLY on iPhone (and iPod Touch), it won't be taking full advantage of its features.
  • Reply 3 of 54
    If Jobs is a control freak, why not open up an iPhone Certification Lab at Apple? Get the platinum seal of approval on your app and it's ready.



    You also get a 512-bit hash "seal of approval" that you insert into the code, which gets decoded by the iPhone at runtime. This prevents unauthorized developers from circumventing the approval process.



    JUST GET ME 3RD PARTY APPS!!!!!!!!
  • Reply 4 of 54
    I'm tellin ya. If this is all I can expect from this platform - a crash-prone Safari, bare-bones email, crappy webapps that require a working Internet connection to run, and Apple Approved Cashflow Enhancing Applications (like iTunes and the spiffy Starbucks interface) - then I'm sorry, but I'm outta here when my AT&T sub is up - maybe even before then. As hardware, iPhone is more computer than phone. In fact it's the first palmtop computer I've ever seen that was actually pleasant to use.



    As an enhanced iPod with phone and email, iPhone is fantastic. But as a device that lives up to its potential, it's turning out to be an appalling travesty. Apple: liberate this device!



    Sent from Steve Jobs' iPhone.

    (Cause it sure doesn't feel like it's mine.)
  • Reply 5 of 54
    nevenneven Posts: 54member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by mr_cazorp View Post


    crappy webapps that require a working Internet connection to run



    You may have noticed this in the original article:



    Quote:

    something that would rival Google Gears in being able to serve up web applications locally without having to access the Internet



  • Reply 6 of 54
    hattighattig Posts: 830member
    It would be a crying shame if Javascript + HTML + CSS + Ajax remained the only official way to write third party applications on the iPhone.



    However with offline storage, compiled Javascript, ability to run full screen, home screen icons, and iPhone GUI tags (like <toolbar>, etc, rather than having to duplicate the iPhone GUI in HTML + CSS with loads of little images, etc) it could be sufficient. It needn't even be HTML, it could be an iPhone GUI markup language that ties in with Javascript for processing.



    It doesn't need to have full access to the iPhone's system, and Apple could expose access to data on the device via a web service on the device itself, rather than direct access, and other things to provide functionality and access to local data, without compromising the device.



    Otherwise in the end people will be hacking the iPhone, writing native applications, and the tools to do it will become more reliable and effective.
  • Reply 7 of 54
    solipsismsolipsism Posts: 25,726member
    Wouldn't it be a good compromise for Apple to regulate iPhone Widgets for the iPhone through the Tunes interface? With over 3700 widgets there are many that would be useful to port to the iPhone. A seperate icon for Widgets that we can add and remove at will while synced to iTunes would make me very happy.



    I expect to see new features the day Leopard is released (Tuesday, October 30th). For instance, iPhone Notes should sync with Mail 3.0 in Leopard.
  • Reply 8 of 54
    While a lot of people would love 3rd party apps I don't see that being delivered until Apple has the iPhone environment established at the level they want it to be at. Part of the roadmap may be related to the software side and, more importantly, part may be related to the review that Apple is said to be doing on Intel's new mobile chip. Throw in the fact that a user with a lot of songs, pics, etc. starts downloading some apps that eat memory and the initial iPhones could be overloaded rather quickly. People tend to look at the iPhone as "part computer" and I can see a lot loading it to the hilt. My thinking is that Apple will want to wait until there is 16 or even 32 gigs available for 3rd party apps to happen.
  • Reply 9 of 54
    dudditsduddits Posts: 260member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by macinthe408 View Post


    JUST GET ME 3RD PARTY APPS!!!!!!!!



    Exactly which one do you miss the most?



    Popcorn?



    iBrator?
  • Reply 10 of 54
    I fully expect Apple to eventually sell approved 3rd party apps for iPhone through the iTunes Store, just as they do now for the iPod games. It's just too obvious. That way, Apple maintains control over stability and takes a cut of the revenue; third party developers benefit from the iTunes exposure (saving them on advertising costs) and built-in piracy protection; and end users benefit from apps that are guaranteed to be secure, relatively crash-free, and probably rather inexpensive ($5-$10), as opposed to $20-$50 for Palm apps that crash on an hourly basis.



    Expect the first apps to come from big names like EA, Yahoo, Google, or Apple itself. Later, smaller developers will get invited into the fray, if they come up with truly innovative ideas. The selection of apps I toyed around with briefly before the 1.1.1 update were all pretty useless, if you ask me. I ended up uninstalling everything before the update, not out of fear of bricking my iPhone, but for lack of finding anything I wanted to keep.
  • Reply 11 of 54
    Dear Steve Jobs, why won't you open up the iPhone to REAL 3rd party applications? I need to run Pocket Quicken & FileMaker Pro & SOHO Notes & a myriad of other software programs on my mobile device, all which sync back to their respective applications on my Mac. Until that happens, I can never leave the Treo and neither can any of my clients. As mentioned above, if you're worried about 3rd-party apps crashing the iPhone, you could could give developers a 512-bit hash seal of approval that developers insert into their code, which gets decoded by the iPhone at runtime. This would prevent unauthorized developers from circumventing the approval process. PLEASE open up the iPhone to real 3rd-party applications -- web apps are not real apps. I've got 100 clients in Los Angeles waiting to buy an iPhone, but they can't purchase it until I allow them to purchase it because of FileMaker Pro & Quicken synchronization.
  • Reply 12 of 54
    mactelmactel Posts: 1,275member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post


    As for why Apple continues to block efforts on the part of developers to write more powerful native applications for iPhone, their sources have no concrete explanation. However, once source offered the following quote as part of his theory: "[Steve] Jobs is a control freak and doesn't want people messing with perfection."





    Or how about AT&T telling Apple if you want revenue sharing then guarantee that you'll thwart hacks that will break our revenue streams from the iPhone. I believe that's closer to the truth than anything posted yet.
  • Reply 13 of 54
    imacfpimacfp Posts: 750member
    I think the real problem, along with the above statement, is that Apple has not locked down the OS and it's not really ready for prime time. In other words, Apple does not have a good enough SDK for others to use and the system is still in flux. I think they feel that if they allowed developers access the phone would blow up and they'd realize the software is not totally ready yet. That doesn't mean Apple shouldn't be more open with their plans but we all know how secretive they are. The article from Wired below talks about it.



    http://www.wired.com/gadgets/mac/com...urrentPage=all
  • Reply 14 of 54
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    The best way to indicate your displeasure with Apple is to go into an Apple Store and tell the staff that you're not buying the iPhone because of (insert reason here).
  • Reply 15 of 54
    alienzedalienzed Posts: 393member
    You can't possibly be a developer, because any real developer with common sense knows that the future of computing, most of which is already here, is NOT run on your local computer. Why in God's name would you want to run an app ON your iPhone, lose valuable offline memory (8gbs isn't much buddy) and worry about tiny little processing power when ANYTHING you can do in a real world app can be done over the web, using a web interface.



    You want a note pad? Use google docs!!



    The industry is moving towards 100% online applications, why would Apple, who historically uses modern technologies first as standard(USB, Firewire) break their pattern and support the old programming model.



    The big problem with you people who want true third party apps, is your age, and it really shows. Get with the times already and make your app work on the web like it should.



    I applaud you Apple, for protecting your name by not letting people f%#* with your product: the way you always have and hopefully always will.
  • Reply 16 of 54
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,558member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alienzed View Post


    You want a note pad? Use google docs!!



    This is a perfect summation of the insanity. Buy a paper note pad, it'll cost you next to nothing and a physical object is more likely to be remembered.
  • Reply 17 of 54
    alienzedalienzed Posts: 393member
    Of course you can do that, but for people complaining about the iPhone itself not providing the capability, google docs is the counter argument.

    Personally, I wouldn't want to carry around a pen and paper because I'd need to bring it with me everywhere, which i most certainly will not do (i've tried, it's just not convenient or attractive to appear to be taking notes on life in public). My phone, however, is always with me and should provide that simple function, which the iPhone does with the ease of a bookmark.

    All in all, what people don't understand is that you SHOULDN'T load your tiny little device with a thousand tiny little applications, because you're going to fill it up and slow it down; using safari will keep that zippity speed, let you bring more movies, music and photos with you and even let you find new tools you didn't even know existed, without having to pay for or go through the trouble of finding them.



    This is a GOOD thing. 3rd party apps that cannot run on the web is NOTHING more than a total lack of effort on the part of the developer. ANYTHING is possible using computers, so don't give that 'it can't be done on the web' bs. (not you spamsandwhich)
  • Reply 18 of 54
    suhailsuhail Posts: 192member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alienzed View Post


    You want a note pad? Use google docs!!



    Alright? How about apps like GPS, or Audio recorder/playback?

    Such apps cannot be programmed through a web-browser, and they were available via Installer before firmaware 1.1
  • Reply 19 of 54
    gizmo-xlgizmo-xl Posts: 141member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by alienzed View Post


    (8gbs isn't much buddy)



    I remember making apps for Prime computers with only 16k of memory that ran complete companies.



    Just because we can make devices that can support 8gig of ram does not mean we as developers have to be bad programers and use all of it.



    You are showing your age by making remarks like this.
  • Reply 20 of 54
    lantznlantzn Posts: 240member
    Quote:
    Originally Posted by Duddits View Post


    Exactly which one do you miss the most?



    Popcorn?



    iBrator?



    I'm tired of editing my video in Final Cut on my big bulky MacBook Pro!



    Apple GIVE us 3-party apps on iPhone NOW!
Sign In or Register to comment.