Supporting iOS has always been a challenge for an open source project such as WP-AppKit. For several months, we have discussed this issue among the team as difficulties have increased. This article explains why we came to the conclusion that coming versions of WP-AppKit won’t support iOS hybrids apps anymore.

Cost Constraint

First, supporting iOS requires specific hardware and software. Apple’s devices costs are skyrocketing (remember we have to use laptops, ipads and iphones). At the beginning of the project, we acquired needed devices but this year, it became obvious that we had to replace them. It was also obvious that the required budget is out of range.

Time Constraint

Another thing to consider is the time devoted to work on iOS as sometimes just compiling and testing an iOS app is ridiculously complicated. We are not the only ones to feel that building hybrid apps for iOS is a pain in the ass. Freetime to work on WP-AppKit is precious and we’d like to use it as purposefully as possible.

PWA Support

At the end of 2017, we invested a lot in PWA. PWA aim to create an app like user experience using web technologies. This is something which is deeply in the core of WP-AppKit’s mission. PWA are well supported on Android and now expand on Mobile Firefox, Desktop Chrome and Edge. Reading the list of platforms supporting this technology, you can see that Apple is missing. This is not enterily true, iOS Safari offers some support for PWA but it is lagging behind other vendors.

Dropping iOS Support 😱

We are fully aware that iOS is a huge part of the mobile world but we came to the conclusion that our project can’t fit Apple’s schemes anymore. It is a difficult and scary decision, believe me. We also make the choice of web technologies as we did before since the beginning of the project. WP-AppKit has always been about strong choices and we understand that decision may anger some of our users.

What does that mean exactly?

It means that we won’t test anymore on latest iOS devices and we will deprecate the iOS platform in future versions of WP-AppKit.

If you have any questions or remarks about this new direction for WP-AppKit, please share in the comments. (However be aware, we won’t publish or respond agressive comments.)

 

Published by Benjamin on December 20, 2018

Head of Digital for a press group, WordPress since 2008, WordCamp organizer, developer for the fun

6 Comments

  1. oh no!

    couldn’t you leave the current possibilities of your fantastic WP-AppKit (collecting all the things we need for a phonegap-app) inside the code?

    i can understand you didn’t want buy all year again new expensive hardware! Me neither! its un-necessary  and un-ecological, too.

    But you don’t need to test by yourself! There is a community. We all want to use your creation for making our Apps. And we will test this apps on the devices we own. If there are Problems, we can fill an issue or maybe make a PR on https://github.com/uncatcrea/wp-appkit

    i´ll be glad to see you stay having iOS on your flag – even without support 😉

    Reply
    • First, thank you for your feedback. You’re totally right, I should have been more precise in my article. Let me be clearer: iOS features are here to stay as long as they don’t cause any problem. We will take in account all the feedback from the community of course. The only thing is that we can’t provide thorough iOS testing anymore and we wanted to be transparent about that.

      Reply
  2. sorry, forget to ask: “… we will deprecate the iOS platform in future versions of WP-AppKit.”

    what do you think is a timeframe for that possible change? next summer, next xmas, next month …?

    i´ll have to make a location-based app (PWA, iOS and Android). And wanted to build it with OSM, wordpress, pods.io and, of course, wp-appkit. But if you’ll drop the possibility for iOS (to fast, eg before Summer) i´ve to do another research and choose another way for building this app.

    Reply
  3. Is this about native iOS apps or are you referring to PWA compatibility for iOS apps? Sorry, just want to be clear.

    Reply
    • It’s about native iOS apps. Everything we’ve done for this platform will be still part of the plugin and the default Q for iOS theme, but we won’t add specific features for iOS native apps and we won’t test the iOS native platform anymore. Regarding iOS PWA support, we will closely monitor its progress.

      Reply

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