(This is a multi-part question, I will try my best to summarise the scenario.)
We are currently building a responsive web app (news reader) that allow users to swipe between tabbed content, as well as scroll vertically inside each tabbed content.
A common approach to the problem is to have a wrapper
div that fills the browser viewport, set
auto, then scroll horizontally and/or vertically inside it.
This approach is great but has one main drawback: since the height of the document is exactly the same as the browser viewport, the mobile browser will not hide the address bar/navigation menu.
There are numerous hacks and viewport properties that enable us to get more screen real estate, but none are quite as effective as
minimal-ui (introduced in iOS 7.1).
News came yesterday that iOS 8 beta4 had removed
minimal-ui from Mobile Safari (see Webkit section in iOS 8 Release Notes), which left us wondering:
Q1. Is it still possible to hide the address bar on Mobile Safari?
As far as we know, iOS 7 no longer responds to the
window.scrollTo hack, this suggests we have to live with the smaller screen space, unless we adopt a vertical layout or use
Q2. Is it still possible to have a similar soft fullscreen experience?
By soft fullscreen I really mean without using the
mobile-web-app-capable meta tag.
Our web app is built to be accessible, any page can be bookmarked or shared using the native browser menu. By adding
mobile-web-app-capable we prevent users from invoking such menu (when it's saved to homescreen), which confuses and antagonises users.
minimal-ui used to be the middle-ground, hiding the menu by default but keeping it accessible with a tap -- though Apple might have removed it due to other accessibility concerns (such as users not knowing where to tap to activate the menu).
Q3. Is a fullscreen experience worth the trouble?
It would seem that a fullscreen API is not coming to iOS anytime soon, but even if it is, I don't see how the menu will be kept accessible (same goes for Chrome on Android).
In this case, maybe we should just leave mobile safari as it is, and account for viewport height (for iPhone 5+, it's 460 = 568 - 108, where 108 includes the OS bar, address bar and navigation menu; for iPhone 4 or older, it's 372).
Would love to hear some alternatives (besides building a native app).