iPhone SDK does not allow you to run in the background

by Volker Weber

Aspelagh notes that a third-party application can't write data to another application, which is known as "sand-boxing." This is a security-influenced rule, presumably. The downer is that "the possibility of cool mashups is basically eliminated," notes Wired's Scott Gilbertson.

The SDK item drawing the most attention Friday, however, is that third-party applications will not be allowed to run in the background. TechCrunch's Mike Arrington wrote, "Instant-messaging applications (we saw a demo of an AIM version at the event today), can't run in the background and collect messages while you are doing something else. Leave the application to take a phone call, and it shows you offline."

If you can't run in the background, you also can't build a Sametime or Traveler client.

More >


Yikes. The sand-boxing I can understand, but this other move is crippling, surely?

Ben Poole, 2008-03-08

Well, I understand why they would do that. A busy application could wear down the battery pretty quickly if it continues running in the background. The sandboxing also leaves me scratching my head. I hope they have apis to talk to the contacts, calendar and message store.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-08

imho mail.app is running in the background already, right?

Marco Foellmer, 2008-03-08

It is. So is phone. But they are not written with the SDK.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-08

I hope somebody tells this to Sun ;-)

Tobias Mueller, 2008-03-08

Business opportunity???
Moving overseas with some programmers and develop iPhone Apps and Games.
Hand them out for free and selling some major apps to a million of users.

Who comes along? :o)

Sebastian Grötsch, 2008-03-08

It is. So is phone. But they are not written with the SDK.

And I wouldn't call them 3rd party apps either ;)

Stefan Rubner, 2008-03-08

Volker, I think the point where no background apps means no 3rd party push email or always on IM clients ( ie SameTime ) is probably the most important point of this post and again goes to show how IBM missed the boat by not getting enterprise email built directly into the iPhone firmware so that it is not calles as 3rd party.

Declan Lynch, 2008-03-08

Volker, re: APIs: there are APIs that connect to mail, itunes, calender, maps, adressbook etc. No worries on that front.

Jens-Christian Fischer, 2008-03-08

Yeah, that sounds pretty consistent with this conversation from Brad Fitzpatrick's LJ (late of LiveJournal, currently at Google).

Greg Walrath, 2008-03-08

Walled Garden of Eden, isn't it?

Roland Leißl, 2008-03-08

jcf, is that write access as well as read access?

Volker Weber, 2008-03-08

How much good can write access do for you if you can't be writing from a background process?

Richard Schwartz, 2008-03-08

Volker, Adressbuch und Kalender sind in beide Richtungen benutzbar. Von SMS und Mail ist nix zu sehen... Aber insgesamt ist schon ein Haufen des gewohnten Stacks dabei, und der Cocoa-Entwickler fühlt sich sofort heimisch. Wenn man mal davon absieht, dass man sich sein Interface (noch) schreiben muss, statt es zu malen...
Was mich - neben dem SingleTask-Approach - momentan mehr stört: Der Simulator ist - im Vergleich zu J2ME und BlackBerry - Schrott. Man kann zum Besispiel keine plötzlichen Anrufe oder Verlust der Netzwerkabdeckung simulieren. Ein im Simulator laufendes Programm "sieht" per NSFileManager nix vom iPhone, sondern das Filesystem des gastgebenden Macs! Nach dem Build-Prozess mit dem SDK hat man ein... i386-Binary! Schluck! Wenigstens eine Toolchain zum Erstellen von testbarem Code auf dem Endgerät hätte ich schon gern gehabt...

Auf der Habenseite: Der Simulator ist ein erstklassiges Werkzeug, um webgestützte iPhone-Apps zu testen! :-)


Martin Christian Kautz, 2008-03-09

On first look I wasn't able to find any API's to work with mail or calendar (I might be wrong, of course). Although, they have API with read-write access to Address Book.

Egor Margineanu, 2008-03-09

Ooops, zu schnell. Der Kalender ist NICHT beschreibbar... :-/

Martin Christian Kautz, 2008-03-09

Dana Gardner thinks the answer is to run inside the JVM, using OSGi. See here. I have no idea if the OSGi work (Lotus Expeditor) for Notes has some play here, something to look into.

Ed Brill, 2008-03-10

That reads like analyst talk. If you can't run in the background, and if you can't write to the native data stores, adding another layer of software will not make you look good. One could of course develop a huge software stack that does its own thing, does not integrate with anything else, and loads every time the user clicks your icon.

Volker Weber, 2008-03-10

Sooner or later we will see a JVM. Jazelle will be free! :-)
I also predict the first outbreak from the sandbox in September '08. This will happen by reverse engineering of "SuperMonkeyBall.app". :-)

Martin Christian Kautz, 2008-03-10

I really don't want to have to load up a JVM to be able to run a mini-Notes client. Can we do this properly - Formally supported Notes Mail access from Mail.app is needed with full backgrounding support just like the Exchange support offered.

Andy Mell, 2008-03-12

It seems to me that adding software layers is IBMs actual answer to everything - like a physicist adds dimensions to models to explain the whole world. In Germany such software is called "eierlegende Wollmilchsau". :)

Steffen Pelz, 2008-03-12

Old vowe.net archive pages

I explain difficult concepts in simple ways. For free, and for money. Clue procurement and bullshit detection.


Paypal vowe