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window.external.Notify in iOS UIWebView

I recently ran into an interesting problem working on putting support for the Windows Azure Access Control Service (ACS) into the Windows Azure iOS Toolkit.

It turns out that once you’ve gone through all of the ACS authentication process, a security token is generated. You need this token to authenticate yourself against ACS-bound web sites. However the ACS web site passes the token to you by calling window.external.Notify()


While window.external.Notify is supported in Internet Explorer on the desktop and also in Windows Phone, it is not supported in iOS. Worse, while the WebView control on the Mac can call your Objective C code from JavaScript, the iOS UIWebView does not support this.

Another mechanism was needed. Here is how I solved it.

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Web updates of content in iOS apps

One common use for mobile apps is to expose a company’s repertoire of content.

Perhaps your app will present cooking recipes, or First Aid information for folks that hurt themselves hiking far from cell tower coverage.

One challenge often faced in these types of apps is how to keep the content up to date. Of course you could simply ship an update to your app, but your customers may get annoying having to update your app every few weeks.

A better way is to have a means to update the content as it changes. The code I am presenting here is designed to do just that.

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Welcome to my new blog. Here I’ll be posting ideas and presenting code from the Mobility space.

A little about me…

I am General Manager for Mobility Product Solutions at Neudesic LLC, a Microsoft Gold Managed Partner. While the company is based in Irvine, California, we have 15 offices around the country and I live in mostly-sunny Scottsdale, AZ.

As GM for Mobility I lead a national team of mobile app developers. Mobility is the only part of Neudesic’s business which is not pure-Microsoft, as we also target iOS (iPhone/iPad), Android, Windows Phone and BlackBerry.

I also stay very much involved in development. I think you have to if you want to stand a chance of staying relevant in such a fast moving field, so a lot of what I post here will be code ideas.

As such I am the Architect on the recently released Windows Azure Toolkit for iOS, and will continue to post about Mobility + Azure going forward.

Prior to Neudesic I was Lead Architect of for 7 years, and led that team from the world of classic ASP to their current .NET platform on a single codebase in 85 countries.

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