Tuesday, April 14, 2015

BROKEN: Web apps launched from the iOS home screen always reload

Sadly mobile Safari has a sordid history of being broken in each new release, but mobile web apps have been broken for a very long time (since circa 2010).

It appears that if you save a web page using a manifest to the homepage, it doesn't really work. Each time you click the icon from the homepage or switch back to the application, the damn webpage is reloaded, which is fine for a simple webpage, but we are talking about Web Apps.

It would appear that at blame is iOS and it's faux multitasking.

There is a lot of stuff over on Stackover flow about this, i.e. Stop reloading of web app launched from iPhone Home Screen . Alas, no solutions but advice to persist your application state in localstorage (or you could risk indexeddb which is another sad Safari story) but that doesn't solve the underlying problem.

Meanwhile, Chrome on Android just works a treat, Web Apps don't reload when you switch or launch them.

My main frustration with Web Apps via Chrome on Android is that the Fullscreen API doesn't allow you to expose the browser chrome and thus settings from full screen mode.

This means it's even more complicated for users wanting to re-enable navigator.geolocation support after ignoring or denying the first and only prompt. Try walking your parents thru that over the phone...

Please prove me wrong or tell me the next iOS release addresses this issue?