Feeds

Apple store kneecaps rival browser

Bookmarklets considered harmful

Build a business case: developing custom apps

Exclusive Apple has ordered the developer of a web browser for iPhones and iPads to disable vital functionality. The gatekeepers at the iTunes store, which sells the highly rated browser German browser iCab, ordered it to disable Javascript. The developer says he'll comply.

iCab was launched two years ago, and brings many more features to iPhones and iPads than the vanilla Safari shipped with the device. It also ships with around 25 "modules", which are used to ease integration with services such as Twitter. They are documented here. iCab's "modules" are simply Javascript code.

The developer Alexander Clauss says he'll comply with Apple's wishes by disabling third-party code. But he's puzzled by the Jobsian logic.

"I really can't say that I like Apple's decision, and technically it doesn't make much sense," he wrote on the iCab blog. "'Modules' for iCab Mobile are simply a more comfortable variation of bookmarklets, and these are still allowed by Apple (and I assume Apple cannot forbid that the user will save and use bookmarklets)."

iCab on the iPad – click to enlarge

He continued: "Maybe if I would have called the modules 'smart bookmarks' and would have made installing them much more complicated, Apple would have never asked to remove the ability to download them from the internet ... The great user experience of installing modules has probably created a suspicion that these modules are more than just a piece of JavaScript code. From a pure technical point of view, if Apple does not allow to download modules (JavaScript code), Apple would also have to disallow to load web pages in general, because these do also contain JavaScript code."

At one level, it really isn't so surprising. Apple forbids third-party code interpreters, such as Java or Flash, from being delivered through the App Store. And Javascript is a code interpreter. Apps such as Instapaper make quite a lot of use of Javascript – but it must use Apple's Javascript engine, not anybody else's. iCab uses Apple's WebKit for rendering pages.

You can find iCab here.

iCab has a long history. It started out as CAB on the Atari, moving to the Mac in 1999. It was the only browser in development for the original MacOS, long after every one else had moved on. Clauss released a Cocoa version for Mac OS X three years ago. ®

Bridging the IT gap between rising business demands and ageing tools

More from The Register

next story
NO MORE ALL CAPS and other pleasures of Visual Studio 14
Unpicking a packed preview that breaks down ASP.NET
Cheer up, Nokia fans. It can start making mobes again in 18 months
The real winner of the Nokia sale is *drumroll* ... Nokia
Mozilla fixes CRITICAL security holes in Firefox, urges v31 upgrade
Misc memory hazards 'could be exploited' - and guess what, one's a Javascript vuln
Put down that Oracle database patch: It could cost $23,000 per CPU
On-by-default INMEMORY tech a boon for developers ... as long as they can afford it
Google shows off new Chrome OS look
Athena springs full-grown from Chromium project's head
Apple: We'll unleash OS X Yosemite beta on the MASSES on 24 July
Starting today, regular fanbois will be guinea pigs, it tells Reg
HIDDEN packet sniffer spy tech in MILLIONS of iPhones, iPads – expert
Don't panic though – Apple's backdoor is not wide open to all, guru tells us
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing a Defense for Mobile Applications
Learn about the various considerations for defending mobile applications - from the application architecture itself to the myriad testing technologies.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
Seven Steps to Software Security
Seven practical steps you can begin to take today to secure your applications and prevent the damages a successful cyber-attack can cause.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.