iOS 9: time to prepare for the update

by Andrea Maioli on 08/28/2015

In a few weeks, Apple will make available the new release of its smartphone and tablet OS, and we can expect that it will be installed on most devices by the end of September. So it’s important to prepare for a possible upgrade concerning applications that we’ve already developed and published on the app store.

But why do we need to prepare? Even though the new iOS has some significant innovations, Apple has also made a few unexpected changes to webkit, the Safari JavaScript engine that anyone developing mobile applications with hybrid architecture has to use. Specifically, the synchronous WebSQL interface was eliminated, and its disappearance wasn’t even documented.

What are the consequences of this?  People who use WebSQL as an offline data storage system will be forced to use an asynchronous program style, or must use a native component to access the data. For those who have developed applications with Instant Developer Foundation, the latter is the solution that we’ve chosen, and with the v14.0 update sent out in recent days, you can already test how it works.

Unfortunately, this solution isn’t painless. In fact, using a native component requires the system to run a JavaScript/native context change with each query, and this takes time, and therefore the performance of the apps that use lots of queries will decline. To mitigate this problem, we’ve developed a data-modification query (insert, update, delete) caching mechanism with behavior that can be modified to optimize certain special cases even further.

So, what do you need to do if you’ve developed mobile apps with Instant Developer Foundation?

  • If the apps only need to run on Android devices, or if the Apple devices won’t be updated to iOS 9, you don’t need to do anything.
  • If the apps will only be used through Caravel, they will continue to work, but only if you use the latest version of Caravel. Nevertheless, we recommend you test them to see how they perform, and you can do this even if iOS 9 isn’t on the device. In fact, in the Caravel options you can also activate the native component in previous versions.
  • If you have published your app through an installation package, you’ll have to send an updated version to the app store. In this case, you’ll need to recreate the installation package with the latest version of Instant Developer and test its operation.

In any case, we invite you to read the release notes for the latest update of Instant Developer and use the support service to get information on how to optimize the operation of your apps.

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