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Performance of Web Apps Saved to Home Screen Hampered in iOS 4.3

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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The Register reports that performance of web apps saved to the home screen on iOS devices running iOS 4.3 is significantly crippled compared to those loaded directly through the Safari browser for iOS, although it is unclear if the issue is caused by bugs or a conscious move by Apple to favor App Store apps over web app experiences.If a web app is run from the iOS 4.3 home screen - in other words, if it is saved to the screen alongside local apps downloaded from the Apple App Store - it runs roughly two to two and a half times slower than it does in the browser, according to various tests. It appears that whereas Apple has updated the iOS 4.3 Safari browser with its high-speed Nitro JavaScript engine, Nitro is not used when web apps are launched from the home screen.

"Essentially, there are two different JavaScript engines," says Alex Kessinger, a mobile application developer and blogger who has focused on building web-standards-based apps for the iPhone. "They're not using the new JavaScript engine with applications that launch from the home screen."In addition, web apps saved to the home screen are unable to take advantage of HTML5 web caching capabilities, preventing them from running while offline.

[center][img]http://images.macrumor...228-sunspider_ios_4_3_500.jpg[/img][/center]
Sunspider loaded in Safari (left) and as home screen web app (right)

One example given in the article is the Sunspider JavaScript benchmarking test, which was demonstrated running in 4047 ms when loaded within Safari but taking 10747 ms when loaded as a web app from the home screen.

The report notes that developers have filed multiple bug reports with Apple regarding the issues, with Apple apparently aware of at least some of the limitations currently being experienced with web apps saved to the home screen. Apple has reportedly acknowledged, however, that at least some of the issues, including ones related to the use of lower-quality synchronous mode rendering for home screen web apps as opposed to asynchronous mode used for content loaded directly in Safari, are not scheduled to be addressed by the company.

Article Link: Performance of Web Apps Saved to Home Screen Hampered in iOS 4.3
 

jonessodarally

macrumors member
Oct 18, 2006
76
1
Does anyone have enough knowledge in the area to check whether or not this affects web apps that are encased in a Web View in a native app?
 

Donz0r

macrumors 6502a
Jun 29, 2006
901
22
It's pretty bold to say that this was intentional or to use the word ' hampered' - the web apps just haven't received the safari update- could be a simple oversight
 

Tastic Bycrom

macrumors regular
Jul 15, 2008
113
0
Kansas City, MO
Really? Does anyone actually think this was on purpose to "favor App Store apps over web app experiences?" Like there some evil IOS developers laughing manically that they denied you performance... get real.

If it was even a known issue, it was likely not addressed due to time constraints or priorities
 

kepardue

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2006
348
7
This is remarkably unfortunate if true, and if not a bug. An icon on the home screen should behave as no more a bookmark. Not having home screen-launched apps using the Nitro engine is one thing that could be understood as a bug, but I can think of no reason why home screen-launched apps would not have access to the cache for offline access besides being anti-competitive. Very disturbing.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,924
1,234
Washington DC
Apple has reportedly acknowledged, however, that at least some of the issues ... are not scheduled to be addressed by the company.

Have they really?

Because when I read the story last night it just said that Apple had no comment.

This thing about them not fixing it was an anonymous quote from someone talking about another anonymous person and they made it sound like that person didn't actually say that, but just implied it. (So goodness only knows what that really means.)

I feel like that should really be described that way in your story and not condensed to "Apple has reportedly acknowledged." That sure sounds a whole lot more official than what I read. It's an important detail to include, but it shouldn't be made to look like some actual announcement from Apple.
 

bartszyszka

macrumors member
Dec 7, 2004
51
68
New York, NY
This is ridiculous. As a user I see the home screen icons as shortcuts to sites I go to frequently, not as separate webapps. Why don't they just make them work as well as they do in Safari? Or just open directly into Safari?
 

WiiDSmoker

macrumors 65816
Sep 15, 2009
1,310
1,524
Hermitage, TN
Wirelessly posted (Mozilla/5.0 (iPhone; U; CPU iPhone OS 4_2_1 like Mac OS X; en-us) AppleWebKit/533.17.9 (KHTML, like Gecko) Version/5.0.2 Mobile/8C148 Safari/6533.18.5)

I'm guessing an oversight and not intentional.
 

avium

macrumors newbie
May 8, 2009
2
0
If Apple has their act together, you would almost expect it to be easier for them *not* to have two separate JavaScript engines running alongside each other.

That said, I'm not too bothered by this article. I've used a web app saved to my home screen approximately once, just because I wanted to test the feature.
 

ndpitch

macrumors 6502
Jun 9, 2010
278
24
So what would be considered a web app? I have the YouTube mobile URL m.youtube.com saved to my home screen, as well as some other shortcuts to websites. Are those considered 'web apps'?
 

kepardue

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2006
348
7
Still, for those saying that web apps are iffy and less desirable than native apps, that may be true today, but at the same time the capabilities are growing extremely quickly--see WebGL, which brings 3D hardware acceleration to web sites, and supported in the recent desktop builds of Firefox, Chrome, Safari (Lion), and Opera and mobile builds of Chrome and Firefox.

Apple has always maintained that it supports two platforms: native apps and web apps. If intentional it gives Apple an unfair advantage to maintain it's 30% cut. Why go out of their way to cripple the developing web if they don't feel threatened by it?

All that said, I'm really thinking this is a bug. Doesn't seem like something they'd necessarily do.
 

Small White Car

macrumors G4
Aug 29, 2006
10,924
1,234
Washington DC
So what would be considered a web app? I have the YouTube mobile URL m.youtube.com saved to my home screen, as well as some other shortcuts to websites. Are those considered 'web apps'?

Yep. That's all it is.

What I'd really love is for Home-Screen-launched apps to be given an 'invisible tab' within Safari. Meaning that you wouldn't see YouTube when you're scrolling through your web tabs...you'd have to launch it from the home screen. And when you're in Youtube you'd likewise be unable to see other Safari tabs without launching Safari.

If they did that then you'd never have asked that question. It would be a lot more clear, I think.
 

Daveoc64

macrumors 601
Jan 16, 2008
4,065
74
Bristol, UK
So what would be considered a web app? I have the YouTube mobile URL m.youtube.com saved to my home screen, as well as some other shortcuts to websites. Are those considered 'web apps'?

Yes.

A web developer can add:

Code:
<meta name="apple-mobile-web-app-capable" content="yes" />

To the <head> section of a web page, which allows users to install it to the Home Screen. The developer can specify an icon to be used as well.

The resulting App will not contain the UI of Safari which takes up a lot of space on-screen.
 

kepardue

macrumors 6502
Oct 28, 2006
348
7
So what would be considered a web app? I have the YouTube mobile URL m.youtube.com saved to my home screen, as well as some other shortcuts to websites. Are those considered 'web apps'?

Any website could be considered a 'web app' since no home screen launched app can take advantage of the above quoted features, but specifically people are talking more about sites that use some of the newer HTML5 capabilities, particularly in this case cache to enable offline sites/apps.
 

applekid

macrumors 68020
Jul 3, 2003
2,097
0
So what would be considered a web app? I have the YouTube mobile URL m.youtube.com saved to my home screen, as well as some other shortcuts to websites. Are those considered 'web apps'?

I just learned this a separate category of apps. What you have is just a bookmark on your home screen since they aren't actual apps. Apparently there's separate apps that can actually be saved and run like normal apps instead of just acting like a bookmark on the home screen.

Check out the examples here: http://web.appstorm.net/roundups/30-incredibly-useful-fun-html5-mobile-apps/ Then save them to your home screen (I tried Canvas as an example). Now run them. Now open up the multi-task bar. They should be running like any other native iOS app. Interesting, right?

Kind of an oversight if Apple forgot to take advantage of the WebKit updates for these web apps. Patch it up on the double!
 

dlastmango

macrumors 6502
Oct 17, 2004
290
221
West Coast - FLORIDA
BOA app?

Is an example of this the Bank of America App? If I access my accounts through he iOS app on my iPhone 4 or just through the browser performance is terrible.

Does anyone else have the same experience?

on my iPad1 it does run better but it still choppy and very slow.


Chris:confused:
 
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