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Wednesday, September 16, 2009

I Would Simply Like To Support iPhone But I Cannot

Before other silly flame/blame will start, I have already twitted that my next laptop will be a netbook. Here the related tweet.

let me summarize the story: at that time I had a girlfriend with an iPhone so I though why on earth shouldn't I buy an Android instead? If I need some test online I'll have both to test it, and I've rarely been that wrong.

Wanna Develop for iPhone? Buy a Mac

As marketing strategy sounds "cool" except I do not want to develop iPhone application, the present and the future is online, why on earth should I learn another programming language from the scratch, Objective-C, to develop something that will be relatively soon replaceable via WebKit and a good host?

Wanna Develop Web for iPhone? Buy a Mac

Again!!! Unbelievable, there is not such a thing: online iPhone tester, everything I found Googling was about a silly image with an iframe just to test the iPhone size ... are you kidding me?
It's like put IE inside an iframe inside an "Android frame" ... where is webkit? Where is the real JS engine? Where is the real render engine?

Wanna Develop for Apple Devices? Buy Apple

OK, I got your point, so now I am stuck with an Android contract and moreover I "love" my Android and it's about a year I am using it writing at light speed thanks to hidden keyboard, and using for whatever Web purpose thanks to its WebKit which is maybe not perfect but it works like a charm, generally speaking.
I do not want to buy a Mac only to test iPhone Web engine via Xcode, I'd love to have better reasons for a Mac, and I don't want to buy an iPhone only to test it online.
That will mean another contract to surf the Net as well ... and why on earth should I do this while I am simply trying to support iPhone?

I Would Simply Like To Support iPhone But I Cannot

Now I am a single developer, but I cannot imagine all other engineers, JavaScript hackers, W3C "slaves", cross-browser maniacs, unable to develop a web application for iPhone. With this strategy Apple is missing the possibility to fix a wider range of problems related to iPhone WebKit dedicated build and moreover it is avoiding iPhone Web support for "silly developers" like me that in this case was only trying to fix a common problem, the css position fixed property, but I am unable to make it works in an iPhone while every other A-Grade browser is supported, Android included, and here is the example!

As Summary

People like Peter-Paul Koch have the privilege to try any kind of mobile device in order to test compatibility. Unfortunately for Mobile Devices Vendors Peter-Paul alone will never be able to cover every kind of test. Even Microsoft releases time bombed images for Virtual Machines in order to test other versions of Internet Explorer. The Android OS is Open Source and it is possible to test it almost via whatever platform, same is for other browsers but not the iPhone. I know you do not mind but you are missing my contribute and support for projects a la sessionStorage, Formaldehyde, the incoming position-fixed, vice-versa or noSWFUpload ... and again, I am only one out of million of web developers.

Please think about it,
Best Regards


J5 said...

You also have an option to buy an ipod touch (now cheaper and hopefully used market making it more so).

There are also other machines out there that can run OS X which is the real requirement for emulating the iphone via the SDK. They include the AppleTV, unauthorized clones, hackintosh netbooks, etc. etc.

It is possible that someone else has written an emulator for Windows or POSIX but I'm not aware of one.

Andrea Giammarchi said...

so the other option is still by Apple?
I am not sure iPod touch has exactly the same WebKit present in iPhone, while I am sure iPhone is the most common one for web surfing, due to its Internet contract.

THe Xcode SDK requires Leopard, if I am not wrong, while emulators I found are too old.

It's nice how we can test Windows or explorer via Mac and how Mac is doing everything to make Apple related development impossible without a Mac.

It is not necessary about money, it's the principle, worst if possible than some Microsoft strategy.

J5 said...

ipod touch browser is identical to iphone browser, maybe a couple apis you wouldn't be working with most likely are different (geolocation or calling phones with callto: links are what i can think of).

iphone/ipod touch OS is built on OS X, so (for now at least) you need an OS X install to run the emulator.

you get the same situation with having to buy windows license to really test windows on posix environment or os x (in a vm)

Aadaam said...

Wasn't safari 4 windows released just for iPhone development back in the old iphone application = html days? What's the problem with it? It's probably not the same, but closer, at least, if it was the original reason to release it, which if i remember correctly was.

Andrea Giammarchi said...

Adaam, you have no idea how much different they are

bibby said...

I'm also put off the inability to develop (or even test!) things for the iphone outside of apple devices. Apple can shove it.

The PhoneGap project, otoh, looks very promising for developing a native app with HMTL/CSS/Javascript ( there are demos in Android Market ). That could be one way to get an app out there.

Mike Rentas said...

So I can build and test apps for Windows without buying anything from Microsoft? I can test web apps in IE from my mac without a Windows installation?

Visual Studio Pro is about $600 ( - Amazon), which is about the price of a low-end Mac Mini ( Or you could use your girlfriend's iPhone for a few minutes if you're just trying to debug a web page.

Apple also provides tons of good documentation on developing for Safari - - I can't see this rant as coming from anything but ignorance, laziness, and unrealistic expectations.

Andrea Giammarchi said...

I use Visual Studio Team System in the office, and we are Microsoft Gold Partners so no money at all. At home I use Ubuntu and XP and Notepa++ or Eclipse ... so what exactly are you talking about?

About the girlfriend, maybe you did not get the ex part ...

Andrea Giammarchi said...

P.S. btw, if you would have followed me in Twitter, you would have known I am planning to buy a Macbook - Regards