iCab Mobile Modules and Apple

Recently I received a phone call from Apple. They asked me to remove the ability to download and install modules from the internet in iCab Mobile. So as of iCab Mobile 4.6, the ability to download and install modules is no longer working.

But the modules feature is not gone. I’ve simply included all modules which could be downloaded before from my server directly in iCab Mobile, so all the modules are automatically available without downloading them before. So for most users nothing serious has changed.

The only problem is with the modules (written by users) which I don’t know of. Users can no longer write and share their own modules themselves. If you know of such a module or if you still want to write a module, please contact me. I can add these modules to the next updates of iCab Mobile and this way the modules can be still shared with all iCab Mobile users.

I really can’t say that I like Apple’s decision, and technically it doesn’t make much sense.  “Modules” for iCab Mobile are simply a more comfortable variation of bookmarklets, and these are still allowed by Apple (and I assume Apple can not forbid that the user will save and use bookmarklets). Maybe if I would have called the modules “smart bookmarks” and would have made installing them much more complicated, Apple would have never asked to remove the ability to download them from the internet. The great user experience of installing modules has probably created a suspicion that these modules are more than just a piece of JavaScript code. From a pure technical point of view, if Apple does not allow to download modules (JavaScript code), Apple would also have to disallow to load web pages in general, because these do also contain JavaScript code.

I think the current solution in shipping all modules together with iCab Mobile should be fine for all users and should not cause much trouble. Hopefully one day Apple will rethink their decision and will allow module downloads and also some other stuff again.