So as some of you may know, in the way back times, I built my own custom web browser, named Cunning. It was very much a labor of love, but love it I did.
Before I retired the project I had around 2000 people using it as their every day browser. It was based on Gecko and had some pretty cool features. With the release of Safari Cunning became redundant, and I no longer had the time to devote to it, so I bid a fond farewell to being a browser vendor.
Fast forward to last year, and I decided to get back in the game, but from a different point of view. With Apple, Inc. shipping essentially a full web browser in a box with Xcode, there really wasn't much fun in building a browser anymore. But creating interesting things with this browser in a box, now that sounded fun.
When I began building responsive sites last year, I found it was irritating to try and test them with a browsers as they were, so I whipped something together that would allow me to test a mobile view side-by-side with a desktop view. And so 2 was born. It took me 20 minutes to write the first version, mostly because I couldn't think of a catchy name.
Since that initial build I have refined and added things, including a custom window UI, but at its core, 2 is still a simple application. Type in your site address and it is loaded into 2 webViews, one has a mobile user-agent applied to it, the other does not. You can resize the mobile view manually or select from a list of preset widths.
There are some other apps out there now that have the same feature set, but none of them do it for me. I like things to look a certain way and work a certain way.
I have another 5 or so features on the books to add to it, but it is pretty stable now, and can be used every day. I have decided this weekend on two things.
- I am going to release a version of 2 in the App Store for a small fee
- I am releasing the core of 2 as an Open Source Project.
This might seem like an odd pairing of tasks, but it makes perfect sense to me. I want to share the code, with the world as a learning experience. I have made a commitment to release more projects this year, and 2 seemed like a good candidate. Useful, beautiful and easy to grock.
That being said I know many people who might be interested in using it, but don't want to have to compile it themselves. Added to that, I would like to continue refining and improving 2, so each purchase from the App Store will help to fund new development.
The proverbial win-win. So, tonight the Open Source Release! You can find the core 2 app over on Github. There is still a bit to do in the coming week, but what is there now works and is stable.
I hope to submit a final build to Apple for approval on Friday, so this week should be exciting! Let me know what you think, and if you have any feature ideas.
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