Daring Fireball has a supersized post up on PastryKit, which looks to be an Apple-developed framework for making HTML, CSS, and JavaScript-based WebApps, and its been quietly lurking for a while now in the online iPhone User Guide when viewed via the iPhone (or Mac or Windows Safari with the browser-agent set to MobileSafari 3x, or just watch the screencasts). What does it do? According to Gruber:

  • Completely hides the address bar, even when running not from a saved-to-the-home app icon, but within a page in MobileSafari itself.
  • Allows for fixed-position toolbars that never budge from the top when you scroll.
  • And: sets its own scrolling friction coefficient, allowing you to fling long lists.

While back at WWDC 2007 when Steve Jobs announced WebApps as the original "sweet" iPhone SDK, it was arguably too soon and developers rightly pushed back and hard. Now, with HTML5, SQLite local storage, fast 3G connections, and no App Store "gatekeeping" (not to mention webOS, Chrome OS, and other web-platform initiatives), is Apple re-embracing the cloud? (See Lala, purchase of). Gruber sticks the finish as well:

The $64,000 question, though, is whether PastryKit is something Apple intends (or that a team within Apple hopes) to ship publicly. It seems like a lot of effort to build a framework this rich just for this iPhone User Guide, so I’m hopeful the answer is yes. Perhaps something integrated with the next major release of Dashcode? And, perhaps with integrated UI layout tools, along the lines of Interface Builder?

Yes please.