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Once upon a time in the WebKit galaxy

Who says WebApp for iPhone, says WebKit. Behind this weird word is simply a collection of images in PNG, CSS style sheet and one Javascript page, the whole optimized to look and feel like a true native iPhone application.

Yes, but there it is… The WebKit War rages on ! In the beginning was iUI, then iWebKit appears and finally WebApp.net comes to life (Why to choose a name like this for a library that has strictly no relation with the .Net Microsoft framework ? I suppose it’s only to surf on the hype of this word… pfff).

I tests these webkit for 1 month to build my own little iMedia application (I’ve shortened the name who was initially iMediaLibrary). And the report is that none of these webkit is convenient for me.

All have qualities and defects. iWebKit is rich and well documented. iUI manage the “slide” effect almost perfectly and has few bugs. WebApp.Net is a compromise between these 2 ones but it’s the one I’ve the least tested… so it’s difficult to give a definitive advice.

Make no mistake, behind these concise comments I’ve much admiration for all this work done and I’m impressed how precisely a wep application can mimic the behavior of a native iPhone application with these kits.

But indeed, the most frustrating thing is to notice that all these projects are working to achieve the same goal… and it would be much more efficient if they were all federate around a single one instead of being scattered.

Obviously the NIH syndrome (Not Invented Here) is still raging and I will probably contribute to make it worse by trying to build my own webkit. It will be a synthesis of all the good ideas we can find inside the three webkits above.

yaiWebKit : Yet Another iPhone Web Kit (by waiting to find better ;-) )

This is the name of the project I’m starting to create jointly with iMedia. If you are interested or if you’re already participating to an iPhone Webkit, contact me !

The main objectif will be to reproduce as faithfully as possible the graphical interface and the native behavior of the iPhone… and add feature when and only when the current version contains zero bug… In other words, I’m not ready to have a webkit as rich as iWebKit :-) But as the short-term purpose is to supply a library for iMedia and no more, it is not necessarily a bad thing.

To be continued…

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