Apple’s web-app directory has gone very quiet

Original post from April 18, updated for the 1 year anniversary of apple web-apps going dark!

Being a developer of several web-apps for both pc and mobile phones, I read with interest way back in March the brouhaha regarding whether Apple had intentionally hamstrung web-apps performance on the iPhone by preventing their use of its brand shiny new Nitro javascript engine.

The question that remains is whether this is an oversight on the part of Apple, or whether it is quietly intentional. With the company’s stand against Flash, an open standard of HTML5 should be its next logical thing to support. But if it doesn’t fix the problem in future versions of iOS, that leads a hefty credence to the rumor mill.

The debate primarily centred around whether with their update to Safari in iOS 4.3 Apple had purposely excluded web-apps for security reasons (JIT’s ability to mark memory pages in RAM as executable) or something more nefarious, such as perhaps feeling threatened by the rise of web-apps and a potential hit on the native app-store revenue….that debate rages on.

As I mentioned, I develop a number of websites with web-app versions customised to run on mobile phones. One of these apps is SwipeStudy (a flashcard study tool) which I submitted to the Apple web-app library, which is (or perhaps was) a very useful and thoughtful site provided by Apple for developers to showcase their (typically freeware) web-apps. However on my last update I mistakenly entered the web address without the http:// prefix (my mistake I admit) which causes the link to wander off to some internal Apple error page…doh!

I have been trying to contact apple to rectify this link, but started to suspect and now after the passing months am pretty sure that they are no longer maintaining this site. In fact the last update to was 3rd Dec 2010, over 4 months ago a year ago!

So I conclude with the question that if Apple are playing with a fair hand with respect to web-apps on iOS, why would they stop updating this site. I guess they may just be too busy dealing with their undoubted many successes, or could they see the writing on the wall with a business model based on app-store revenue when the whole app-ecosphere is converging on html5?

One Comment

  1. Patrick wrote:

    I just submitted to the Apple web app directory, I think I got everything right, and am now just waiting to hear back.

    Based on your experience of waiting so long Im a bit worried. I also note that the last apps to be listed were December last year, not a good sign.

    Do we have to go to a Church to make contact with the Apple Gods to find out if the directory is active? Or have they not found any apps worthy for the last four months?

    Where do I download an Android dev kit ;-)