What does a geek want in a lifetime? Simple: another project…!! Well the guys at the webOS blog have thought from a geek’s perspective. They have put up 10 reasons why the geeks will love the webOS.

Let us see how true they are:

#1: It’s free.

There’s no cost to become a developer.  You don’t have to pay any sort of fee to download the SDK or submit apps. The webOS emulator is free and our tools support development on Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. We also have discount programs to help developers to get their hands on real devices.

Well, most of the other OSes do the same.

#2: We give you full access to your device.

You don’t have to jailbreak or root your device.What other platforms call jailbreaking or rooting, we call entering developer mode.  We don’t make you jump through hoops, purchase device certificates.  or use questionable tools; instead, we provide simple shortcuts from our launcher and phone apps.  Just tap on the “Just Type” search bar and enter “upupdowndownleftrightleftrightbastart” (the classic NES Konami code!); an icon appears that lets you toggle this mode on and off. In developer mode, you can get full access to the device over your USB cable.

Agreed, with the rift ever increasing between developers and corporations, this could be a welcome move. While giants like Sony and Apple are bleeding trying to contain hackers (i love you guys, you rock…!!), the hackers always come out victorious. This move was the one that the dev community was waiting for.

#3: It’s Linux.

Once you’re in dev mode, it’s just Linux and WebKit.  You can get a fairly functional shell on the device by using the command “novaterm” on Mac/Linux or by using “pdk-device-install” and PuTTY on Windows.  We have many of the essential Linux commands available, tools like cp, vi, grep, find, diff, top, tar, and gzip, making it easy to find your way around the system.  We include scripts in our SDK to sideload ssh and gdb.

Linux rocks. I am yet to come across a geek who uses Linux as the secondary OS.

#4: A lot of it is familiar technology.

We use the languages and APIs you already know.  Most apps are written in JavaScript with the presentation layer as HTML and CSS.  We provide a framework to make writing apps quicker and to make accessing system features easier.  For webOS 2.x and earlier, it’s Mojo, and for webOS 3.0+ it’s Enyo.  We’re also working with leading mobile JavaScript frameworks and tools to make sure that their code can work well for webOS applications.

If you want to use C and C++, our main build tool is gcc and our main APIs are SDL and OpenGL ES, both widely used systems with lots of support material online and in books.

Making a smooth transition is always welcome.

#5: The source is easy to find.

Since apps are written in JS, it’s easy to find lots of examples just by poking around on the device.  The in-ROM apps are all in /usr/palm/applications.  Some have been compressed for faster loading speed, but we usually still have the original source there too.  For the open-source parts of our OS, we have opensource.palm.com with all the tarballs and patches for the pieces we ship on phone.

Source is what counts. While the greater part of the dev community is bent on seeing open source as the future, more and more OSes are adopting fragments that belong to this category

#6: Our tools are hardcore developer-friendly.

You don’t need an IDE, but you can use one.  Our main tools are command-line tools like palm-package and palm-install, but we ship an Eclipse integration plugin.  Our emulator is a x86-based build of the OS running in the open-source VirtualBox system.  We also have a web-based IDE at ares.palm.com that lets you build apps in your browser with a nice layout designer and a code editor based on Mozilla’s Bespin project.

Developer friendly is always = yayyyy. But on a serious note, the success of a platform solely depends upon it’s developers. If the tools are updated and dev feedback is properly taken care of, the devs would not run anywhere else. We have seen at least one case (Symbian) where the whole platform was driven to a suicide point. Had Nokia taken the correct steps at the ripe time, things would have had been different.

#7: You can try cutting edge stuff.

Doing background work on our devices is pretty easy; apps can be bundled with services based on node.js. JavaScript apps can call native code using the hybrid PDK model where the code runs as a plugin. You can try your hand at 3D graphics with OpenGL ES or do remote device control using Bluetooth serial.

Who doesn’t like cutting edge stuff?

#8: Our developer support is awesome!

The webOS developer forums are very active and members of both the developer relations and engineering team often answer questions there when other forum members don’t jump on them first.  We also publish a lot of information directly on developer.palm.com and we hold great events like our Developer Workshops all around the world.

We just hope it stays that way.

#9: webOS Homebrew Rocks!

We have an awesome independent developer community in webOS Internals that does things like replacement kernels, new system services, and overclocking tools. Our community produces innovations that have made their way into later webOS releases; for example, we liked the page cache compression work that they did to improve webOS 1.4.5 so much that we made it part of our standard Linux kernels on webOS 2.0. HP hasn’t tried to stop or silence these groups; instead we work with them when possible and even give them hardware to help with their explorations.

Homebrew has been ad is the core of hacking. What would a hacker do without homebrew? We must not forget that some of the greatest projects in the history of humanity (hint…hint) started as mere homebrews.

#10: Your open source project can make a difference.

Many of our best applications are open source, available either via our App Catalog or through homebrew channels including FourSquare, drPodder, pReader, Spaz (Twitter client), Relego (Read It Later client), and PreWare, People have already ported over a bunch of Linux games using our SDL system, and there are efforts to bring lots of languages and tools onto the platform. If you’re an expert in porting some important bit of Linux technology, there’s likely a niche for you here in the world of webOS.

As we have said above, Open Source is the name of the game.

What so you think about this article? do let us know and win some really cool stuff..!!

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Related posts:

  1. Access (ALP) Developer Day on August 7th
  2. ALP SDK available
  3. Palm opens webOS developer program in December
  4. webOS booted on a stock PC
  5. OpenMoko: FreeRunner is dead

8 Responses to “10 Reasons for Geeks to Love HP webOS”

  1. 1. true. Although, Palm did charge to submit an app during their initial launch.
    2. not exactly. If you want to make apps for the App Catalog, there are access limitations.
    3. true. Only helpful for homebrew tinkerers though.
    4. true.
    5. not exactly. Certain source codes are undocumented or have incomplete documentation.
    6. true. Using notepad or wordpad or any simple text editor works perfectly fine.
    7. true.
    8. not exactly. There are dozens of unanswered developer support questions in forums.
    9. true.
    10. depends on the open source project you’re working on.

  2. “We also have discount programs to help developers to get their hands on real devices.”

    This is only true for US developers. Or at least it was when I tried. Weeks of no response, then finaly just a short email which told me I was not accepted. I now have bought an Android phone.

  3. “We also have discount programs to help developers to get their hands on real devices.”

    Is very to – not also for US (I live in Germany and got a device).

    WebOS is super!

  4. *true

  5. I Love WebOS Internals!

    Without them, I could not have enjoyed my pre minus (original pre) for so long.. My pre minus stock runs ar 500mhz.. with WebOS Internals and the homebrew comunity, I am
    running 1ghz.. So many patches make the phone so customizeable..

    I wish/hope HP/Palm incorportate most the popular patches, or have a “settings (Pataches)” app, so people can with a flip of a switch, have a specific feature they want for customization.. (since most people don’t know or are scared to do the simple steps to get PreWare on your phone to DL all the patches you desire)…

    P.S… Sprint if you do not have the Pre3 in June… im going to Verizon if they get it…

  6. This gives a completely new perspective towards webOS! Thank you for the insight! This adds webOS devices to my “very-worthy-of-purchasing” list :-)

    I’d just like to comment on this one:

    Linux rocks. I am yet to come across a geek who uses Linux as the secondary OS.

    I consider myself a geek. I’ve switched to Mac OS X about a year-and-a-half ago, and I’m not really looking back. Windows and Linux are my secondary operating systems right now. On OS X, things are well designed, yet very accessible for messing around. And application development (once you figure out the simple way of thinking that led the designers) is a breeze. Shell is easily accessible, and once you’re there, it’s UNIX like any other.

    Ubuntu’s moving in the right direction, let’s see if they get there :-)

    Just my personal opinions, that’s all.

  7. Dear Ivan,

    Thank you for talking back. Linux prevails everywhere today. It’s flaws are heavily outnumbered by it’s benefits…!!

  8. Good information. Lucky me I discovered your blog
    by chance (stumbleupon). I have saved as a favorite for later!

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