Build an iPhone Webapp in Minutes with Ruby, Sinatra and iUI

On December 10, 2008

sinatra-iphone-web-app.png While Mobile Orchard and most developers focus on the development of “regular” iPhone applications using the iPhone SDK, it’s also possible to develop iPhone-specific apps as “webapps.” If you’ve used Google Calendar or Google Mail from your phone, you’ll have seen an iPhone “webapp” in action. While webapps can’t get access to all of the goodies offered by the iPhone SDK, they’re more than adequate for many tasks – they also don’t need to be “approved” and won’t appear on the App Store.

You can use any language to develop an iPhone webapp (since the files are all hosted on your own servers), but Ben Brinckerhoff has put together an excellent tutorial demonstrating how to build an iPhone webapp in just 50 lines of code using Ruby, Sinatra (a lightweight Web framework) and iUI (an iPhone-specific style and JavaScript framework). Even if you don’t have any Ruby experience, the tutorial is detailed enough that you can either follow along or adapt the techniques to your language of choice.

If you’re interested to see what iPhone webapps are available, Apple has an official index of iPhone webapps. Currently there are over 3000!

0 responses to “Build an iPhone Webapp in Minutes with Ruby, Sinatra and iUI”

  1. James says:

    This is an important post, as my partner and I discovered several months ago and launched which is a free webapp that lists all of the other webapps (sourced from Apple’s feed).

    We used iUI to build it and so far its working out nicely. So, if any readers here want to see iUI in action, and see all kinds of neat webapps, you can certainly try us out. We’re also showing native apps and growing that list further.



  2. Al says:

    couple iPhone web apps I developed, using iUI for the interface. My apps use Perl on the backend 🙂 (mashup of itunes, youtube, lyrics,, yahoo photos, twitter, and more) (DVD-Play kiosk content mashed up with IMDB and kids in mind ratings)

    cool thing about using iUI is that it runs perfectly fine on Android G1 too.


  3. Wow. Thanks for passing along this idea of iUi as an interface. Your right, just tested these apps with the G1 and they run just fine. That’s good bang for the buck… one interface working on a number of smartphones. Very cool!