Apple’s Rich Internet Application Platform Play (or maybe not)

At the Apple World Wide Developers Conference (WWDC) today, Apple made a few very interesting announcements. First, their Safari web browser is now available on windows. Second, developers can create small widgety apps for the iPhone in the same way they can build small widgety apps for the Mac desktop using XML, HTML & Javascript.

What no one seems to be mentioning yet is the connection between the two. You see, mac desktop widgets basically run in Safari. If Safari runs on windows now, it’s a small step to offer widgets. If Apple makes that step then the same rich mini-applications can run on Windows, the Mac, and the iPhone. Apple will be distributing Safari as part of a bundle with iTunes, which suggests that they have big plans for Safari.

Update: Also worth mentioning, WebKit, which is the core HTML and Javascript engine on which Safari is based, is open source (and derived from software in the open source KDE project). Furthermore, Nokia has already used WebKit on some of it’s mobile devices.

Of course, I have no idea what it really means, but it suggests that Apple is providing weight to creating rich internet apps based on existing widely adopted open standards, This is in contrast to Adobe with whatever they are calling Apollo now, which seeks to leverage their Flash product, and Microsoft with Silverlight, which while open in some ways, involves a lot of Microsoft-isms.

Another Update: I misunderstood the initial announcement. The iPhone will have safari, but it won’t support widgets. Disappointing and lame. I hope it’s not a permanent condition.

2 thoughts on “Apple’s Rich Internet Application Platform Play (or maybe not)

  1. Kevin

    Think, people.

    For web apps to look good on iPhone, they’ll have to be written to look good at 320×240 resolution.

    That prevents them from being used across mobile, laptop and desktop borders.

    Without the same Safari on all mobile devices, this is a useless announcment.

  2. eas Post author

    There are already a class of apps written for the environment that work well at 320×240: Most desktop widgets fit within that range. In any case, there is no way around optimizing the UI for the formfactor, whichever tech you build with.

    The importance of this really depends on the success of the iPhone.

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