Tuesday, December 15th, 2009
John Gruber has spotted a library for iPhone web apps, from none other than Apple. This mysterious library, called PastryKit, seems to have flown under the radar as a Google search reveals precious little on it. In similar vein to other efforts, Apple’s library provides support for native-feel websites – websites that run in Mobile Safari, but feel like native apps. (That’s the objective anyway; some look-and-feel emulators are “good enough”, while others get stuck in the uncanny valley).
To get hands-on with PastryKit:
- Visit http://help.apple.com/iphone/3/mobile/ from your iPhone or iPod Touch. This is an official Apple site using PastryKit. If you’re feeling lazy/iPhone-challenged, watch Gruber’s screencasts.
- Now with the same site in regular Safari (on your Mac/PC), open up the Develop Menu (if it’s not there, enable it in Preference|Advanced). Choose User Agent > Mobile Safari 3.0 (or probably any other version number). And now you can see it in your browser. From Develop Menu, Web Inspector will let you view the script.
The HTML includes PastryKit as follows:
- <!-- PastryKit -->
- <link rel="stylesheet" href="dist/PastryKit-ug-compact.css">
PastryKit accomplishes all three of the aforementioned things — hiding the MobileSafari address bar, providing fixed-position toolbars, and providing scrolling with momentum — by disabling regular scrolling and setting up its own view hierarchy and implementing its own scrolling.
The whole question of native iPhone apps was a hot topic last month after PPK whipped up a storm on the question of web apps replacing iPhone apps. The really interesting thing here is Apple’s stance. They launched the iPhone with web intended to be the platform for 3rd party apps, then switched over to native apps and haven’t done much to facilitate native-style web apps since then. Is a change coming? As Gruber puts it:
The $64,000 question, though, is whether PastryKit is something Apple intends (or that a team within Apple hopes) to ship publicly. It seems like a lot of effort to build a framework this rich just for this iPhone User Guide, so I’m hopeful the answer is yes. Perhaps something integrated with the next major release of Dashcode? And, perhaps with integrated UI layout tools, along the lines of Interface Builder?
As well as apperaring in the user guide website, Chris Messina noted PastryKit apparently appears in the iTunes LP files.
Posted by Michael Mahemoff at 8:31 pm