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Chromium as a fake Safari on iPhone

November 24th, 2009 Guillaume No comments

To test iPhone WebApp on Linux we don’t have Safari…
We can use Safari for Windows with Wine, or Safari in a Windows virtual machine with VMWare Server or VirtualBox…
But we can also simply use a browser with the same core engine than Safari ie Webkit : Epiphany ou Chromium. Then we have just to change the user-agent to forge a fake Safari on iPhone. If you search on Google, you’ll find very exotic solution : someone uses hexadecimal editor to modify the Chromium binary files… like using an atomic bomb against a fly) : the solution is much easier, you have just to pass through the –user-agent parameter to chromium like this :

chromium-browser --user-agent="Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 3_1_2 like Mac OS X; fr-fr) AppleWebKit/528.18 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/4.0 Mobile/7D11 Safari/528.16"

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Once upon a time in the WebKit galaxy

October 14th, 2009 Guillaume No comments

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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New site, new projects…

October 14th, 2009 Guillaume No comments

Sometimes, you change your phone and you want to change your website too ;-)

Then, instead of trying to do the “perfect” website once again without having the time to do it like I would like… I’ve decided to just create this simple webpage for now to show you my first iPhone web application !

iMediaLibrary : A few words about a long story…

For a long time I collect books, CD, DVD and more recently Blu-ray… to find a particular item and to not buy many times the same article (when publishers change the cover’s picture for a reedition you can do mistakes…) I’ve started to manage all this stuff in a spreadsheet.

But of course I never had this file with me in a shop when needed. A short time later I’ve bought a Palm IIIe and transformed my file to a small database with HandBase then with Pilot-DB which, maybe simpler, was published under GPL license, used a non-proprietary format to store data and was able to run under Linux (a true happiness : I’ve definitively switched to Linux on my own PC since year 2000).

New problem : data synchronisation when I modified my database on my Palm or on my PC, the conflicts to solve, etc… I have nevertheless to use this system several years waiting for an hypothetical PalmPhone with a Kernel Linux… reported year after year with the long declin of Palm Inc… (yes I know, since that Palm has launched the Palm Pré but it’s too late for me (and now Google Android is ready too…)).

As the result I’ve finished to decide to buy a smartphone under Windows Mobile 5, quickly upgraded to WM6 : an HTC P3600 (also known as Trinity). And the Palm database has been totally migrate to a web application using PHP and MySQL… No more synchronisation problem : from my phone or my PC I can access to my database through the Internet. With a clean design, using this application on the little screen of a smartphone is pretty good… I’ve even added some features : displaying of the CD and DVD covers, and management of the additionals data for authors, players, actors, directors associated to these works… It’s always this program I use now.

But now… I’ve just “switched” to a brand new iPhone 3GS :-) So, a new version is in progress to develop a specific iPhone graphical user interface !

And the cherry on the cake (for you if you are reading these lines) : the new version in progress will be multi-users !

You can use it free of charge* if you want to register your own library ! Informations of each user will be strictly isolated and only people with the proper permissions can see data of course. Finally, you can manage the loans, give access to you media library for reading and/or writing to your friends (and even manage grants levels by document (private, public, restricted, etc)) and import/export your data to CSV file.

Be patient… Waiting for, if you have any idea to add a new feature, don’t hesitate to send me an email !

*but you can make a donation with Paypal if you want :-)

Categories: iPhone Tags: , , ,