[sword-devel] On the topic of an iPhone front-end

Greg Hellings greg.hellings at gmail.com
Fri Apr 18 11:27:33 MST 2008

On Fri, Apr 18, 2008 at 12:55 PM, DM Smith <dmsmith555 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> Greg Hellings wrote:
>  > On Wed, Apr 16, 2008 at 12:33 PM, DM Smith <dmsmith555 at yahoo.com> wrote:
>  >
> >>  Currently, there is one iPhone interface that does not have this
>  >>  problem: web 2.0 browser interface. If the BibleTool or something like
>  >>  it were adapted for small devices with "grade A" browser support, that
>  >>  would be fantastic.
>  >>
>  >
>  > As I understand it, the iPhone version of Safari is completely unique
>  > in its dual-faced implementation of a browser.  It tries to imitate a
>  > full desktop-style browser and then just display the size of the
>  > iPhone screen at one time.  However, you can also design a web app to
>  > work specifically with the mobile version of Safari and look almost
>  > exactly like a native app.  To do so is slightly beyond my ken with
>  > javascript and/or CSS tasks, but there are a few good Javascript
>  > toolkits I've used which would make it quite possible.  However, it
>  > would certainly require a redesign of the whole BibleTool interface.
>  >
>  Here is a quick example of a Web 2.0 interface.
>  http://www.crosswire.org:8080/jsword/iBD.html
>  It is a very rough example of how JSword can be used on the web. I'd be curious to know how it looks and behaves on an iPhone. (besides ugly, I know it is.)

On desktop Safari it complains of "Value undefined (result of
expression xslDoc.load) is not an object" whenever I select a book or
click one of the buttons in the interface.  For helping with the
front-end, a Google Web Toolkit app could be very useful.  It's
designed to write both the client side (browser) code and the back end
(servlets) in Java.  The client-side code is eventually transformed
into HTML and Javascript to run on the browser, while the server side
is compiled into (almost) standard servlets and posted up on a servlet
container.  I've had good luck recently with it - and since the server
side is designed to be written in Java and run on the server, you can
easily interface it with Bible Desktop's back end through the RPC

Something like that would probably be ideal if we are to put up a web
front-end for mobile Safari users.  However, it would be nice if Apple
would allow use and development of open source applications.

>  Can I assume that if I make Safari have the same display area as the iPhone or iPod touch, that I'll have a good idea how it looks?

There are some minor points of trickery if you want to optimize the
webpage for display on the portable version of Safari.  I sort of
glazed over that portion of the tutorials (and it's probably under the
same NDA that the rest of the Apple Developer site is), but if you
sign up for your own Apple ID, you can view them.  The videos are also
available as video podcasts on iTunes.  If you look in the ADC channel
and look for iPhone Tech Talks (not the iPhone Getting Started Videos
- those are for the native app SDK), they have 4 or 5 videos there
about customizing and optimizing for iPhone Safari.

>  And I agree with Nathan that offline capabilities is a good motivation to have an installable app.
>  In His Service,
>         DM
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