Tag: iPhone

Why Would You WANT to Bypass the Browser?

An intriguing story about a guy who figured out how to create games for Apple iOS without using PhoneGap or Titanium while completely bypassing the built-in browser has me somewhat puzzled.

Dominic Szablewski (blog) has created a game development library called Impact that allows you to write iOS apps completely in JavaScript. Graphics and sound are rendered using OpenGL and OpenAL respectively. So no dependency at all on Apple's OS or infrastructure. That's a cool-sounding idea alright but I'm not sure what it gets you in exchange for what has to be a tremendous amount of additional work to create your apps in the first place. (Reading his blog will reveal at least some of the hoops through which Szablewski had to jump to make his app work.)

The reason this idea caught my eye is that the author is using HTML5 to render the games, which then run on all HTML5-capable browsers, which includes all of the important browsers with more support coming out every day. So doesn't that mean the games will already run on iOS in the Safari browser? Why, then, go to the additional work to make them run naked stand-alone without the browser? I don't get it.

Szablewski says on his blog that, "This means you can take your JavaScript games written for Impact and run them on iOS with perfect sound and touch input and way better drawing performance than with Mobile Safari." I'm not a gamer, so I don't know if that's true. If it is, of course, then I stand corrected and this approach may well have some real value for folks who want to write snappy games for the iOS that also run in all of the major HTML5-supporting browsers.

Whether there is something real here or it's just a mental exercise by someone who doesn't like the way Apple renders game stuff in the Safari browser, the exercise is intriguing. The fact that Apple approved two demo games the author built for deployment in the App Store also suggests that this probe opens another avenue in the anti-scripting bias Apple has clearly shown in screening app submissions to the store.