I recently presented on the integration of native iOS and Web Apps (and some related topics) at the July 31st Boulder iOS Developer Meetup. Thanks to Justin Shacklette for organizing the group and the event, and to Scrib in Boulder for hosting it. You can find the slides here. I also gave an earlier version of this talk at the Denver iOS Developers meetup in May [I co-organize this meetup group with Kevin Doran (the original founder) and Zettie Chin-Fong].
There was a great deal of interest in the raw productivity of Ruby, especially the slide where I compare Objective-C and Ruby implementations of the same array and string processing logic. The Ruby is, of course, much shorter, and seeing both on the same screen really brings the point home for folks. There are several different ways to leverage Ruby’s productivity with and for iPhone and iPad applications, but the best options are to offload what logic you can to web servers (cloud or otherwise) and enhance the Objective-C Foundation framework with Ruby-like functionality.
There was also some controversy about how “webby” iOS application user interfaces should be. I still say that you’ll never get the best user experience from an app that merely wraps a web application. It’s like jamming a square peg into a round hole; it’ll never be as responsive or have the same feeling of portability and ownership that decent iPad and iPhone apps should have, and so it’ll always feel somehow wrong. I presented various hybrid options anyway, but I’m advocating using these, at most, only as steps in the evolution of an application toward full-blown native power.
Finally, I’ve [barely, so far] started writing an open source Objective-C library to fill in the gaps in the Objective-C Foundation classes with some Ruby-style methods. I’m calling it NSRubify, and you can find it here. If anyone wants to help or contribute in some way, please do drop me a line!