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Tuesday, December 03, 2013, 03:40 pm PT (06:40 pm ET)

Google reportedly working on Chrome apps toolkit for iOS ports

As part of its initiative to bring based Chrome packaged desktop apps to mobile, Google is reportedly preparing a beta release of a toolkit that will help developers create native apps for mobile platforms like Apple's iOS.

Chrome

Google's Chrome OS.


Evidence of the beta was discovered by The Next Web in a GitHub repository called "Mobile Chrome Apps," which is being headed up by Google software developer Michal Mocny.

According to the project's description, Mobile Chrome Apps is a toolkit for porting Chrome Packaged Apps to Android and iOS hybrid web applications using Apache Cordova. Other operating systems are also mentioned, including Apple's OS X and Microsoft's Windows.

From the summary:
  • You're excited about Chrome Packaged App for Windows, OSX, Linux, and ChromeOS. Sweet!
  • You've discovered this toolkit for creating Android & iOS hybrid native apps with chrome app polyfills.
  • Follow our Guide (below) to Import your existing chrome app (or start fresh).
  • ????
    (modify for mobile design, fix bugs, work-around limitations, and test)
  • Publish to the Android Play Store or iOS App Store.
  • Profit!

The Getting Started page, along with other introduction assets, notes various steps must be taken to produce adequate apps, such as as mobile design tweaks, bug fixes and platform testing. Currently, iOS support is "TBA," but The Next Web reports work has already started toward the development of these so-called "hybrid" apps.

Chrome Apps are written in Web coding languages HTML5, JavaScript and CSS, but behave like native apps and can run offline. These hybridized products are meant to combine the stability of a webpage with the power of an app coded specifically for a given operating system. Unlike Web apps, Chrome Apps have access to Chrome APIs and services to interact with hardware, media tools and more.

Google offered no comment on the matter, but a source said the tools are nearing their final stages of development and an official announcement should be coming early next year.