I am visiting a website on my mobile. It has a form that asks for a photo. However the choose photo file button is shaded out. Why? Because iOS Safari doesn’t allow you to upload files / photo’s form your iPhone. It also doesn’t allow you to download files although that’s not the issue I’d like resolving right now.
Is there any reason good enough to make me worried about uploading files and particularly photos off my iPhone without having an App for that installed? At one time, web apps that run in the browser were going to be the future. Today many apps are really just browser based in a simple wrapper (e.g. like PhoneGap) that makes them iPhone apps. That gets you a photo upload function for example. However, is that really necessary? Doesn’t it add complication for something simple when we don’t need it?
Now my simple forms apps that requires a photo was created using Gravity Forms. It runs on WordPress and is delivered in a nice iPhone / mobile format using WPTouchPro a wordpress plug-in. It works perfectly on my Samsung Galaxy (Android) and I’ve seen it working just fine on a Blackberry too. In fact on Android I can upload other things… like voice memos, and more. Now while I could come up with some additional customization and perhaps even a prettier APP – I’m talking about a quick mobile research project that doesn’t involve thousands of people. Apple’s policy is limiting flexibility and restricting what I can do with my simple app. I think it is stupid.
Now there are some APPs for the iPhone that have been built that aim to get around this problem. AurigmaUp is one example. Picup is another. You can also find source code for designing your own if you look. The first two apps are capable of launching from your iOS Safari browser form uploading your photo and returning to your form. Unfortunately, I’ve been unable to make that work. The developers/providers of both these apps are unwilling to help. Similarly, the Gravity Forms crowd isn’t interested. Neither is the WPTouchPro developers. To an extent I get it. Leaving your form in the iOS Safari browser, opening an APP and returning to the original browser window is sort of broken. It’s a fudge in any language.
For me, it is a time waste. It makes a prototyping opportunity more difficult. Yes I may want to create a full app later for many reasons. However, for today I’ve wasted too much time. I don’t have a decent explanation or understanding of why I shouldn’t be able to upload photos in your mobile browser to a form I have created. This seems like a simple thing to fix. It doesn’t create holes that I can see. It doesn’t or shouldn’t open up the download anything I want via the browser which I sort of get and yet is very restrictive too. I understand although I may not agree that limiting downloads re movies and music is not in the best interests of the platform. Yet you have no problem letting me save an image I’ve found on the web. So why Why WHY can’t I upload one?