Web applications

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Revision as of 20:04, 16 September 2019 by Tepples (talk | contribs) (This page is in severe need of updating)
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This is a mini-rant, a short essay refuting a common misconception among users of an Internet forum. If you think this essay is FUD, feel free to explain why on the essay's talk page.

Some people propose to circumvent the political restrictions on applications for mobile phones and consumer tablets, such as the rules of the iPhone Developer Program, by replacing them with web applications. This just trades off political restrictions for technical restrictions. A web application environment capable of replacing the native execution environment would require well-documented JavaScript APIs for every input device on the hardware, including multitouch and any built-in camera, accelerometer, and GPS. It would also require a highly optimized JavaScript JIT engine, WebGL, and full support for HTML5 offline features (Service Workers and localStorage/IndexedDB). It took several years for this situatoin to improve.

iPhone and iPad

The browser on the iPod touch, iPhone, and iPad is Mobile Safari. It took several years for Safari to gain support for WebGL. I checked for how big a web app could be (tried Google mobile safari offline limit), and it appears to be limited to 5 MB. The localStorage object is likewise limited to 5 MB (tried Google mobile safari localstorage limit). Nor does Mobile Safari appear to JIT compile the JavaScript due to iOS's especially strong flavor of W^X (tried Google mobile safari javascript jit). Even accelerometer support wasn't added until iOS 4.2.