Tags: 1969



Friday, February 17th, 2023


Push notifications are finally arriving on iOS—hallelujah! Like I said last year, this is my number one wish for the iPhone, though not because I personally ever plan to use the feature:

When I’m evangelising the benefits of building on the open web instead of making separate iOS and Android apps, I inevitably get asked about notifications. As long as mobile Safari doesn’t support them—even though desktop Safari does—I’m somewhat stumped. There’s no polyfill for this feature other than building an entire native app, which is a bit extreme as polyfills go.

With push notifications in mobile Safari, the arguments for making proprietary apps get weaker. That’s good.

The announcement post is a bit weird though. It never uses the phrase “progressive web apps”, even though clearly the entire article is all about progressive web apps. I don’t know if this down to Not-Invented-Here syndrome by the Apple/Webkit team, or because of genuine legal concerns around using the phrase.

Instead, there are repeated references to “Home Screen apps”. This distinction makes some sense though. In order to use web push on iOS, your website needs to be added to the home screen.

I think that would be fair enough, if it weren’t for the fact that adding a website to the home screen remains such a hidden feature that even power users would be forgiven for not knowing about it. I described the steps here:

  1. Tap the “share” icon. It’s not labelled “share.” It’s a square with an arrow coming out of the top of it.
  2. A drawer pops up. The option to “add to home screen” is nowhere to be seen. You have to pull the drawer up further to see the hidden options.
  3. Now you must find “add to home screen” in the list
  • Copy
  • Add to Reading List
  • Add Bookmark
  • Add to Favourites
  • Find on Page
  • Add to Home Screen
  • Markup
  • Print

As long as this remains the case, we can expect usage of web push on iOS to be vanishingly low. Hardly anyone is going to add a website to their home screen when their web browser makes it so hard.

If you’d like to people to install your progressive web app, you’ll almost certainly need to prompt people to do so. Here’s the page I made on thesession.org with instructions on how to add to home screen. I link to it from the home page of the site.

I wish that pages like that weren’t necessary. It’s not the best user experience. But as long as mobile Safari continues to bury the home screen option, we don’t have much choice but to tackle this ourselves.

Tuesday, April 28th, 2020

Replying to

If you mean server-side rendering+rehydration, please say server-side rendering+rehydration.

The problems don’t come from the server-side rendering part; they come from the rehydration.

Tuesday, September 3rd, 2019

Replying to

Saturday, February 2nd, 2019

1969 & 70 - Bell Labs

PIctures of computers (of the human and machine varieties).

Sunday, May 20th, 2018

The cryptocurrency propaganda posters are losing their lustre.

The cryptocurrency propaganda posters are losing their lustre.

Thursday, May 10th, 2018

Good morning, London.

Good morning, London.

Wednesday, March 16th, 2016

Lamb stew.

Lamb stew.

Tuesday, February 16th, 2016

Bringing out the birthday cake for @lottejackson. Happy birthday, Charlotte!

Bringing out the birthday cake for @lottejackson.

Happy birthday, Charlotte!

Wednesday, July 15th, 2015

Watching @clagnut print.

Watching @clagnut print.

Saturday, April 18th, 2015

Getting ready to speak at Bulgarian Web Summit 2015.

Dobro utro, Sofia!

Saturday, September 13th, 2014

Pork on a stick, squid on a stick.

Pork on a stick, squid on a stick.

Thursday, June 12th, 2014