Did you give in and buy yourself an iPad? Go grab it. If you don’t own one, just reach your arms out, conjure up a temporary air of smugness, and play along.
Now take your iPad (or your imaginaryPad, or what have you) and pop into Safari. Hit the bookmarks button, and then tap “iPad User Guide”. Explore a bit. Notice the dual-pane view with independent scrolling; notice the elasticity of the views. Notice that, outside of the URL bar up at the top, it looks and feels just like a native application.
It’s always been one of the primary complaints about Web Apps: no matter how much time developers dump into them, they just can’t make them feel like the stuff that comes out of the App Store. Maybe the tool bar would float out of view, or clicks just wouldn’t register naturally, or scrolling would seem “off”. It would take hours of scripting work just to get something that mostly emulated the feel of a basic native application.
The guys who brought it to our attention, Done21, are tentatively referring to this unannounced, not-quite-public framework as “AdLib”, after the file that contained it all: AdLib-ug-ipad.js. This name is by no means official – it’s just the best thing we’ve got, so far.
Coming in at just shy of 4,500 lines of code, the entire purpose of AdLib appears to be to bring native app-esque functionality to Web Apps, often counteracting the default behaviors that make Safari play nice with the rest of the web.