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Mobile Design and Development by Brian Fling

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Chapter 12. iPhone Web Apps

I’ve said it many times already: the iPhone was a game changer in the mobile ecosystem. A big part of that change is the impact that it had on the mobile web and specifically on mobile web applications. The iPhone provided people all over the world a glimpse of the future of mobile—that the mobile web didn’t have to be these ugly lists of text, that now we could create something unique and cool for mobile devices using the same techniques we use on the Web.

I have to admit that I’ve deceived you with the title of this chapter; this chapter isn’t about creating iPhone web apps, it is about creating mobile web apps for the iPhone and beyond. Because when we are talking about iPhone web apps, we are actually talking about WebKit, the mobile web browser behind the iPhone and iPod touch, and also the device browser in some of the best-selling smartphone platforms, like the Nokia Series60 (or S60), Android, Palm’s webOS, and more. In a short period, WebKit went from being just the core technology for Apple’s web browser Safari to one of the top, most proven mobile browsers in the world.

But the story doesn’t stop with just WebKit. The iPhone created a sea change within the entire mobile web landscape. After the iPhone, the device browser suddenly went from being a third-class citizen to being its killer app. Operators and device makers partnered with browser makers to get competitive browsers in their devices to rival the features of the iPhone. Once the iPhone ...

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