Web Development For The iPad

Since their release in 2010, the iPad has taken the world by storm. It soon became clear that people were opting to surf the web more and more often using their iPad device. But what has this meant for web development? Creating a website for an iPad is not like creating one for a regular sized computer (even if an iPad does have a similar screen size), nor is it like creating one for an iPhone or other smart phone device. Web development had to change and this is how:

  • Redirect: the implementation of a ‘user agent string’ when looking at web development for an iPad is highly useful, granted you have a ‘device detection script’ on your server. This code will, upon identifying the online device being used, redirect mobile phones and iPads to a more user-friendly website.

  • CSS: it is even possible to now specify CSS codes solely for the iPad. This allows you to have different CSS in place for when the iPad is being held in portrait or landscape orientation without needing to use JavaScript.

  • HTML5 and CS3: as the iPad supports both of these systems, it allows web developers to go all out when it comes to the layout and overall appearance of a web page. The content for an iPad-friendly website can be very similar to that of a website developed for a regular computer, unlike smart phone-friendly sites. The use of box shadows, text shadows, multiple backgrounds, video and even geo location will all work fines on an iPad device. JavaScript: another system supported by the iPad, JavaScript will allow web developers of an iPad-friendly website to make use of web 2.0 features, animation and so on.

  • Flash: unfortunately, trying to incorporate Flash into your iPad-friendly website will be to no avail, as the iPad does not support Flash systems.

  • Touch screen: taking this ever-popular feature into account when undertaking the web development of an iPad friendly website is imperative to its success. Developers need to ensure that there is enough ‘padding’ (empty space) in between links to minimise the chance of the wrong one accidentally being pressed. They must also ensure that the buttons themselves are large enough to be pressed.

One of the most important web development lessons learned thanks to the introduction and popularity of the iPad is that just because a website is iPhone friendly does not mean it will be the same for an iPad. It is always best to develop a whole new website to redirect iPads to.

Author: John K. Taylor