#336 — December 18, 2020

Read on the Web

📱 Mobile Dev Weekly

Hey! 👋

Today's issue is the last of 2020, and as such we're taking a little look back at some of the bigger stories, articles, and resources that we've linked to over the past twelve months. One thing is clear: Apple's decisions this year, good or bad, garnered plenty of attention.

Anyway, consider this your highlights reel of the mobile dev space in 2020. We'll be back in the new year, so catch you then — and as ever, thanks for reading.

— The Mobile Dev Weekly team.

IEEE: The Top 12 Mobile Programming Languages — As this list we shared in August shows, over the past few years numerous upstart programming languages have emerged in the mobile-dev space all looking to supplant “old guard” languages. Have you adopted any of them in 2020?

Nick Kolakowski (Dice)

5G Just Got Weird — Yep, 5G generated plenty of chatter in 2020, but it hasnt quite hit critical mass just yet. This post from late August looks ahead at how the industry group 3GPP is taking the tech in new directions, with the latest set of standards laying the groundwork for new services that have “never been addressed by cellular before”.

Michael Koziol (IEEE Spectrum)

TestFlight Forever: Developers Are Building A Better World Outside The App Store — This post from August detailed the iOS-only 'club that has everything': “Cool unreleased apps. Hardly any rules. Endless mystery and tech cred for those who get in”.

David Pierce

Progressive Web Apps in 2020 — This was shared in one of the first few issues of the year. It offered a look back at what had happened in the PWA ecosystem so far, and offered a few pointers on what to expect in 2020 — worth taking another look at to see how things panned out.

Maximiliano Firtman

Is Apple Trying to Kill PWAs? — This item from back in April proved popular, no doubt in part thanks to the spicy headline. The takeaway was, of course no: Apple aren't set out to kill PWAs, but changes they introduced earlier this year around browser storage gave folks pause. The author concludes the drama was a result of a "conflict of culture, goals, and priorities".

Mike Hartington

React Native is the Future of Mobile at Shopify — Shopify kicked things off in January by announcing a switch to React Native. This news came after years of native mobile development. This popular blog post explained their decision and why it didn't come lightly.


Flutter vs Native vs React Native: Deep Performance Comparison — This comparison post of FPS, CPU, Memory, and GPU performance in popular mobile development tools from July proved popular. As with all benchmarks, apply a cynical eye and, even better, test for yourself and your own use case when making comparisons.


MS Showing Off React Native for MacOS (and More) — In May Microsoft detailed how React Native is getting full support for targeting macOS — not strictly mobile, but it got plenty of attention.

Kiki Saintonge (Microsoft)

Apple Just Killed Offline Web Apps While Purporting to Protect Your Privacy — Changes to Safari made earlier this year means that local storage now expires after seven days. In this blog post from March Aral suggests that this change “effectively kills offline web apps”.

Aral Balkan

Project LightSpeed: Rewriting Messenger to Be Faster, Smaller, and Simpler — This article from March detailed the behind the scenes story of a rewrite of Facebook's popular Messenger app. The then-new version sported a completely new codebase, resulting in a significantly smaller download size.

Mohsen Agsen

Apple Declined to Implement 16 Web APIs in Safari Due to Privacy ConcernsIn the summer Apple detailed why they would not be implementing 16 new Web APIs: cheifly due to the APIs adding new user fingerprinting opportunities for online advertisers. This is the complete list.

Chris Coyier

Think Lazy: An Open Letter to The WebKit/Safari Team — A Twitter discussion about Chromium vs. WebKit, the lack of rendering choices on iOS, and developer attitudes towards Safari, spiralled out into something a bit more personal. This open letter (authored in July) to the WebKit/Safari team attempted to straighten things out.

Maximiliano Firtman

A Showcase of What Is Possible with Progressive Web Apps — This demo PWA that we shared back in June attempts to showcase, via examples, what you can do with PWAs right now. It’s a pretty neat way to interactively demonstrate the power of PWAs all in one place.

Danny Moerkerke

Apple Bringing Face ID and Touch ID to the Web — Multi-factor authentication has taken off online in a big way, but can often require clumsy mechanisms like text messages or third party apps to work. So in October, Apple revealed plans to bring its native Face ID and Touch ID mechanisms to the Web on top of the Web Authentication API.

Jiewen Tan (WebKit)