iUI Design Philosophy

The forthcoming release of iUI (version 0.40) is going to be the first release of iUI that add significant architectural changes.  iUI today is not that different from the original release of iUI over 2 years ago.  The major reason for lack of change has been simple: lack of human resources on the iUI team.

There have been many great contributions from the community, from simple bug fixes to beautifully crafted patches that add multiple features and almost double the size of the codebase.  I have also read and heard many opinions on the value of iUI, both positive and negative.  I'd like to write a formal statement defining the design philosophy of iUI so that users, developers, and even critics can better understand what iUI is and what it wants to be when it grows up.  This philosophy comes from three sources:

  1. Joe Hewitt's original vision and source code
  2. The experience and feedback of the community as it has developed applications with iUI
  3. My understanding of the above sources and desire to move the project forward while staying true to its roots and to the loyal community.
Here are some of the key points in outline form:
  1. iUI is a micro-framework (small, no underlying framework)
  2. iUI is standards-based, but Safari focused (no IE)
  3. iUI is lightweight.
  4. iUI is a great starting point for any iPhone-optimized mobile site
  5. iUI is a great starting point for those who want to learn modern mobile Web Dev.
  6. iUI provides a functional core that is extensible through plugins
  7. iUI is independent of server side technology.
I'd like to add a little more detail on these points (and was holding off on blogging this until I did) but I'm going to publish it now as it may answer some questions I've received recently.  Comments are very welcome.  This should eventually end up on the iUI project site.


  1. Frankly, I'm thrilled to see that iUI development is back in motion again. iUI offers a simple means for developing iPhone-friendly web applications--something that many vendors c/should take to heart. As a web developer, this framework makes it possible for me to build something that works and looks like it fits on the iPhone without having to dive into the complex world of Objective C.

    I, for one, eagerly anticipate the future of iUI, and I hope that you and others plan to continue support for this simple yet powerful framework.

  2. Hi, really like iUI.

    I had a question: Is it possible to open a PDF Document from an external link whilst also keeping the top and bottom navigation in webapp mode?

  3. hat's a good question, Qasim.

    Please ask on the iPhoneWebDev Google Group: http://groups.google.com/group/iphonewebdev

    You might also want to check the archive as I think that question has been asked (and hopefully answered) before. I have some ideas, but there might be someone who has actually done it.