Full screen web pages (or modals) on iOS Safari

Because the top and bottom bars on iOS Safari slides up and down when scrolling, I was having some difficulty coding a full-screen page for it. $(window).height() on only gets the initial height upon page load, which includes the full header and footer bars. $(window).resize() wasn’t triggering when I scroll, either.

I ended up finding two possible approaches to the problem:

1. Use the minimal-UI viewport declaration for iOS

This is convenient because it doesn’t involve any JS work-arounds or extra code, except for one line of HTML in the header. It loads the screen without the expanded URL header bar and with the hidden bookmarks bar on the browser window. However, there are some cons for this approach:

Hiding the bottom bar makes it harder for people to save or bookmark the site. It’s not the default view, so some people may not realize that clicking on the site title or URL on the top of the screen will restore the hidden nav bars.

2. Use Javascript to detect the bar state and redraw the page 

The second method may be a bit of work since we’re adding JS to the page, but it will keep the default UI and I think this is better when it comes to bringing a web experience that your visitors are familiar with.

Of course, you may use what you think is best for your site or web app. Perhaps there are also other work arounds that I wasn’t able to find.

I have a 2013 Nexus 7 and it’s still not good enough

Ultralinx published a very good review of the 2013 Nexus 7. And I agree with them: great specs for the price, even if it is around $60 more expensive in the Philippines compared to buying from the US (roughly around $330 compared to $270). But Oliur Rahman echoed exactly the reason why the 2013 Nexus 7 still isn’t good enough:

Android is still a very capable OS and is arguably the most powerful mobile OS available right now. There is so much you can do with it compared to its competitors – it’s just much more versatile.

However one major problem I still have is the quality of apps. Sure Android now has an app for basically everything and anything, but quality in terms of UI and UX just doesn’t seem to be on par with iOS.

I hound Google Play every week waiting for something: I don’t know, maybe some exciting Android tablet app. Maybe a new addition to their featured android app list that I’m actually interested in.

In terms of games, Android isn’t very far behind (it catches up a few months after the popular games are released on iOS, such as Plants vs. Zombies 2). However, when it comes to the apps that differentiate themselves (maybe something like Figure or Day One), the Android ecosystem is pretty lacking. There are some alternatives, but they don’t particularly impress me with the design of the UI and experience. This is old news. It can be argued that the Android apps have the same features as iOS apps (or maybe even more), but it does not equate to the similar experience I’m looking for that only excellent design can bring. Android’s app ecosystem doesn’t make me feel as excited or happy as the iOS app ecosystem, which makes me want to go app-window-shopping as regularly as possible. I even searched for music-making apps once, just to see if there’s anything my boyfriend could use, and I found one that seemed really good except the design wasn’t all too visually appealing. They don’t seem to have an ultimately amazing app that you will die to get an Android for (unlike, say, how I feel about Paper. Because it’s only on iOS, if you want exactly that kind of drawing experience, you absolutely must have an iPad).

It’s no surprise that more iOS apps are featured in BeautifulPixels (which is my go-to site for app recommendations) compared to Android apps. I’m not saying there aren’t a few gems out there (JotterPad X for Android is a very lovely alternative to iAWriter on the iOS); the really well-designed ones are just too few, and for  tablet-optimized apps the options are fewer. I’m sure more beautiful apps will come to Android (though for some maybe never). I just wish they would come sooner. For now, my Nexus 7 tablet is mostly a device for consuming rather than creating.

App review: Drafts (iOS)

I downloaded/bought Drafts (for iPhone) a few weeks ago (a month ago? I can’t really remember) and used it maybe twice, but I enjoyed it. I can type on this clean, minimally designed screen and export it to a bunch of services, like Echofon which I use for twitter, Simplenote which is my most-used note-taking app, Evernote (if anyone prefers it), email, etc. I like the black-screen and white-text on my apps (I read Pocket and my e-book reader on this theme) and Drafts had that option, which was something iA Writer didn’t have. 

So today they had an update (now I can export it to SMS!) and released the iPad version. It was $3 so I sat for around, maybe 10 minutes trying to decide if I really needed it. I had Simplenote. I bought iA Writer. Did I really need another similar app? But I remembered that I enjoyed those two or three times I used the iPhone version and how much I wanted an iPad version some weeks ago. Now that it’s here, I’m hesitating!? Yes, because it’s not free. 

I went ahead and bought it, tested it by using it to type my notes while reading some articles queued on my Pocket, and I have no regrets! 

I think it has something to do with how much I really, really dig white-text-on-dark-backgrounds for reading.