WebView and Reachability – The iPhone Development Requirement

photics-reachability-thumbnailSome of you might be wondering, “Hey Mike… where have you been? Where are the site updates?” My mind has been elsewhere, trapped in the iPhone SDK. A lot has happened during the last two weeks. After a decade of being grumpy with Apple, I bought a Mac. It was required for developing iPhone apps. After my success with Android, I decided to try iPhone development. Yet, owning a Mac was far from the most difficult requirement.

The paperwork has been settled. The $99 was paid. Photics is registered business for iPhone development. That in of itself was a tremendous accomplishment. Such an effort shows risk, vision, determination and creativity. I’m taking a chance on a crazy dream. Yes, I have a lofty goal. I had heard the stories of the money to be made in this market. Maybe I can get a piece of that Apple pie.

Yet, I’ve also heard stories at how tedious Apple can be. They have strict guidelines about publishing iPhone / iPod Touch. September 2009 has been the month of surpassing those hurdles. Yet, there’s one obstacle in my path that I’m having trouble clearing… Reachability… and the knowledge required to pass this technological hurdle is currently out of my reach.

See… if you’re creating an online app… it’s nice to tell the user, “Hey… your network is off. You’ll need to turn it on for this app.” Otherwise, my WebView just loads up a blank page. I understand the requirement. I agree with the requirement. I just don’t understand how to make it happen.

Oh sure, I’ve gone to Google. I’ve read the tutorials. I’ve even contacted Apple directly. I still do not have Reachability working properly in my app. Apple has some basic code available. It should just be a matter of cut & paste, with some minor tweaking. Yet, this is a completely new environment for me. I’m still getting used to the Mac OS… with rounded edges everywhere. Even my Mac Mini has curved corners.

That’s good. I don’t want to accidentally cut myself on a sharp corner. 😛

I don’t want to cut corners with my app either. Even if Apple didn’t require it, I think it needs Reachability working. Unlike Android, the iPhone web kit doesn’t return “Web page not available” errors. At least, not by default… not for me.

Usually, I like to make informative posts. I like to share knowledge. But right now, I don’t have anything constructive to add about this topic. I don’t have advice on how to solve this problem. This is more of a rant. I underestimated the difficulty involved. I’m surprised at how badly I’ve been struggling with this, but I’m not giving up. This post is also something of a historical archive. Hopefully soon, I’ll look back at this post and laugh. For an experienced programmer, the skill required to accomplish this task is minimal. For me, it’s been tormenting my mind.

My crash course in iPhone development has been quite the learning experience. I appreciate the elegance of the Mac OS and their design choices. I’m familiar with the WebView from Android, so I did have a little bit of a head start. I’m enjoying the knowledge boost, but this project is getting expensive.

Here’s a list of expenses so far…

  • Buying my Mac, it turns out that I like the Mac Mini more than the MacBook Pro – $629.25
  • Ordering Snow Leopard, because my Mac Mini didn’t come with it – $10.84
  • Updating my Business Certificate – $120
  • Sending a FAX to Apple – $2
  • PC / Mac  KVM switch setup – $71.38
  • My NVIDIA 9800 only has DVI out, and my current adapter makes the screen blurry. Fixed video issues with a new Mini DVI to VGA Adapter – $18.49
  • Developer Registration – $107.79

About $1000 later, I’m being tripped up by something so trivial. Will I make back the money? I still think so. Photics: Revisions is quite popular on the Android Market. I imagine that it will be more successful on the iPhone. Apple has a larger mobile audience. Yet, I am reminded of all those one-star ratings. I can imagine the future comments. An occasional comment might say something like, “Their is 2 meny spellings errorz in you’re book!”

Anyway, if you’ve been wondering what I’m up to, it’s reading about Reachability for iPhone apps that use Internet connectivity. This is quite the challenge. I’m enjoying it an hating it at the same time.

2 thoughts on “WebView and Reachability – The iPhone Development Requirement”

  1. Sooo… did you get it figured out? I’m having the same problems. I would love a 1-2-3 on what to do!

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