I'm a writer, programmer, web developer, and entrepreneur. Preona is my current startup that began its life as the team developing Twitulater. Our goal is to create a set of applications for the emerging Synaptic Web, which would rank real-time information streams in near real time, all along reading its user behaviour and understanding how to intelligently react to it. Swizec is a DZone MVB and is not an employee of DZone and has posted 67 posts at DZone. You can read more from them at their website. View Full User Profile

How to Tell a Phone Your Website is an App

  • submit to reddit

I don’t always get to work on mobile projects, but when I do they’re websites pretending to be apps.

Default bootstrap example - zoomable etc.

Default bootstrap example – zoomable etc.

So the question is: If your schedule is too tight to get a simple phonegap application through the approval process, how do you deliver a great mobile experience to users on launch day?

Responsive design will only get you so far. Which is to say not very far at all.

Take Bootstrap, use all the responsive features and you are left with a website that looks a bit different on a phone than it does on a computer or a tablet. But it’s no app.

  • renders super small despite the initial-scale=1.0 meta tag
  • scrolls all over the place

First step to fixing things is disabling user scalability:

<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0, user-scalable=no, maximum-scale=1.0">

Default zooming is okay now and users can’t pinch-to-zoom anymore. But they can still do plenty of strange side-scrolling and bouncing around. Something apps don’t usually do.

Adding another meta tag fixes that problem.

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

Our only problem now is that pesky address bar on the top. Apps don’t have that! This can be solved with a bit of simple javascript:

// When ready...
window.addEventListener("load",function() {
  // Set a timeout...
    // Hide the address bar!
    window.scrollTo(0, 1);
  }, 0);

Marvelous! You even get an extra 60 pixels of room to play with.

Just keep in mind that you must use those 60 pixels, otherwise the address bar won’t hide because there’s nothing to scroll up.

Final result - an app-like website

Final result – an app-like website


Published at DZone with permission of Swizec Teller, author and DZone MVB. (source)

(Note: Opinions expressed in this article and its replies are the opinions of their respective authors and not those of DZone, Inc.)