Developing for the iPhone

The Apple iPhone is out, and the web is filled with everything you could possibly want to know about the iPhone…and plenty you don’t.

Sure, the iPhone can display normal web pages correctly, but the iPhone offers an interesting new opportunity: More powerful mobile web apps. Some sites are already building iPhone-itized versions. Take Digg for example. They’ve just released a beta of Digg for the iPhone. In case you didn’t notice, it’s designed to work in a similar manner to the apps built-in to the iPhone. Since Apple isn’t about to let developers write their own software for the iPhone, people are making web-based apps instead.

Do you want to do something like that? First of all, you should read Apple’s “iPhone for Developers” page and also their “Tech Specs” page.

Keep these limitations in mind:

  • No Flash
  • No Java
  • No downloading
  • No mousover events or a:hover styles (as there’s no mouse to hover with).
  • 420×320 pixel display at 160 dpi. A normal computer monitor is 72-96 dpi, so take that into account.

Obviously it’s not going to be easy to test your work without an iPhone. Okay, Windows users will find it hard to test their work without an iPhone. Mac users can use iPhoney, a cool little program that simulates the display of an iPhone. Basically it’s a mini web browser designed to operate in a similar manner to the iPhone.

If you’re trying to mimic the experience of the iPhone’s UI, you can use some code created by Joe Hewitt to build something like this. If you want your web-app to look and act like the iPhone’s UI, you’ll want to check it out. If you want to develop sonething that doesn’t look like that, do whatever the heck you want.

Well, If I ever got around to making a mobile version of NTugo MyNT, I doubt I’d make it to iPhone-specific. I’d build something for a wider array of phones.

Anyway, I think in the future there will be a lot of competition for the iPhone. Motorolla and the other cellphone companies aren’t going to sit around and wait for the mobile-web market to be taken-over by Apple.