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Accessing Nitro? There`s an App for That


While many users enjoy accessing the Internet through their iPhone or iPad, some may have noticed a certain disparity in the speed of certain browsers or applications. That's not endemic to the products; in fact, it has a lot more to do with something called Nitro. Fortunately, there's an app called Nitrous that can help those with the need for speed.

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By: Terri Wells
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August 02, 2012

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While many users enjoy accessing the Internet through their iPhone or iPad, some may have noticed a certain disparity in the speed of certain browsers or applications. That's not endemic to the products; in fact, it has a lot more to do with something called Nitro. Fortunately, there's an app called Nitrous that can help those with the need for speed.

If you've developed any applications for Apple's official App Store, you know that the company's Mobile Safari browser has something that third-party apps don't. As Paul Morris explains, “when Mobile Safari was revamped...with it came a rebuild of the underlying code around the Nitro JavaScript engine that drastically increased performance and provided the user with a browsing experience that contained fewer lags and pauses while visiting their favorite websites. In a rather bitter sweet twist, Apple unfortunately doesn't allow apps built around the UIWebView to take advantage of this newer engine and the same goes for all of the default third-party apps.”

What exactly does this mean? If you like Chrome and want to use it on your Apple device running iOS, it won't reach its full potential. And it's not just Google's browser; there are a surprising number of applications that use JavaScript and could therefore benefit from the advanced Nitro JavaScript engine.

Fortunately, for those not too shy about jailbreaking their Apple devices, there's an app in the BigBoss repository that changes this situation. It costs only $0.99, and it gives users a much faster web experience. It's called Nitrous, and it allows users to grant apps access to the Nitro JavaScript engine.

Once it is installed, it won't show up as an icon on your home screen. You access and configure it from the native Settings app. It'll show you a list of applications with simple toggle switches next to them. You turn the switch on or off to grant or revoke access to the Nitro JavaScript engine for each app. It can hardly get more intuitive than that. Morris notes that you'll see an immediate increase in performance: “Any app that has WebKit-heavy dependence will notice an improvement when activated through Nitrous.”

This isn't just for Chrome, either. Many extremely popular iOS apps are built around web views, including Facebook and Twitter. If you've written such an app, you might want to test it on Nitrous or even clue in your customers. Note that it only works for iOS 5 or higher. 


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