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Now Developing iPhone Web Apps

August 19th, 2010 Leave a comment Go to comments

Early last week a friend asked me if I knew of any freelance iPhone app developers.  This made now the 4th time this summer I’ve had someone present either a need or interest in my ability to do iPhone apps, so I took it as a sign that I should at least dabble in this new fangled technology and see if the learning curve would be worth tackling.

I’ve been recently delighted to find it was.

After downloading 2.3 gigabytes of installables in the form of XCode and it’s suite of tools and iPhone simulators I was disheartened to find a strong emphasis on GUI-based design of user interface components: even Dashcode, the suite for creating iPhone web apps, seemed intent on generating the HTML, JavaScript and CSS for me if I could only drag and drop things the right way in accordance with their template models.

The breakthrough happened in stumbling upon Jonathan Stark’s most excellent book, Building iPhone Apps with HTML, JavaScript, and CSS.  Thanks to it, instead needing to learn a few new programming languages (Objective C and Cocoa) and a foreign development environment, I learned how to use my existing mastery in the more universal web technologies to make compellingly native looking web apps that run perfectly on an iPhone.

You can see the result here:

This demo is kind of bland in most browsers, but looks pretty good in Safari, and of course best in an actual iPhone.

Overall my foray into the world of iPhone app development was 4 days very well spent.  The whole shortcut to me being fully competent to make web apps for the iPhone I owe to the really smart work of a few groups who are making tools that bridge the gap between niche devices and open standards technologies, notably David Kaneda and Jonathan Stark of jQTouch, and the geniuses behind Phone Gap.


This is Programmer for Hire, a series of essays and explorations on the art of being a great programmer doing on-demand custom software development.

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