Saturday, July 28, 2007

How to create your browser app on the iPhone

Since I started going around with my iPhone with the additional icon on it, showing the contacts application included in the free myFUNAMBOL portal, a lot of people have asked me how can they have it as well, or do the same with their browser-based app.

The goal is simple: having an additional icon on your screen, with your logo and the name of your application, that fires up a browser to your site. So you can keep the Safari for browsing and that icon to access that web-based app you really like (for me, it is one-click access to all my contacts over-the-air, with search capabilities, since the native iPhone contact app has zero search and I have 700+ contacts...).

The assumption is that you have already done jailbreak and you have ssh access to your iPhone. If you did it already, I am not responsible for anything that happens on your iPhone (or the warranty). If you did not, well... good luck with the rest of this ;-)

  1. Create a folder called under /Applications
  2. Copy all the files under /Applications/ to /Applications/ (making sure you copy also the subdirectory English.lproj). You can use iphoneinterface, sftp or, better, do a "cp -r"
  3. Make sure /Applications/ can be executed (chmod 755 MobileSafari)
  4. Overwrite the existing icon.png with the Funambol icon.png in /Applications/ (or make your 60x60 PNG file)
  5. Overwrite the existing Info.plist with the Funambol Info.plist in /Applications/ (the trick is simply for the app to be called something differently than
  6. Reboot the iPhone
That's it. You now have a second browser on your iPhone, with a pretty icon named Funambol. The two browsers share bookmarks and history at boot, but once started they will live separate lives. That means you can click on your Funambol icon, open the URL and it won't change, while you use your Safari icon to browse your favorite sites.

Change Funambol with your application and you have one-click access to your favorite web app. Nice.