Ben Galbraith: webOS great for Enterprise, great for cross-platform developers [MobileBeat 2010] 29
We just finished watching a rare solo appearance by Palm Developer Relations' Ben Galbraith at MobileBeat 2010 in a "fireside chat" with VentureBeat's Matthäus Kryzkowski. The discussion was fairly general about where webOS has come in the past year with a few hints at where it might be going, including another mention of the cloud-syncin'est database technology known to mobility, DB8, which we reported on past April. It was a "fireside chat," and so not the venue for big announcements, but still illuminating to those looking to get a feel for where the thinking inside HP's newest subsidiary is right now.
One point we enjoyed was related to webOS in the Enterprise - a subject near to our own hearts. Galbraith made the case for the webOS-Enterprise fit by noting the ease of creating custom corporate apps for the platform:
I think webOS is a fantastic fit for the enterprise. [In Enterprise] you typically don't have a ton of the highest-end developers, C and C++, amazingly proficient software engineer. You tend to have more of what we call an 'app developer,' developers who are more focused on the final product [...] it's really easy for enterprises to take these devices and create a bunch of enterprise apps on them [...] it's a perfect fit for that market.
Since it's based on straightforward web technologies instead of more complicated C or even Java systems, it's more likely that large companies could find app developers to get those one-off corporate apps done.
Galbraith also briefly discussed some interesting ideas about how the 'web' part of webOS is becoming increasingly important as other platforms move to support more HTML5 "As other companies get behind HTML5 in a big way, we feel like it validates what we started." In fact, he suggested that developers who are looking to create cross-platform HTML apps might consider starting on webOS:
As more and more devices proliferate, a lot of developers talk to us about fragmentation and tell us 'We're really concerned about all these new platforms and how we'll support all these new platforms.' One of the observations we've made is that all of these platforms that are emerging have fantastic web runtimes on them, and so to the extent that you invest in creating web content for our platform [...] you can also reuse those assets really easily in these other environments.
Speaking of cross-platform development, Galbraith also noted that Palm's PDK has fewer restrictions than the competition: there no scripting locks and managed runtimes are A-OK, "any language you want to run that can compile to C or C++."
Our take: whether you're leaning towards web-based code or native code, Palm's doing quite a bit to ensure that developing on or porting to webOS is as easy as possible. In all, it was a nice chat about some of the lesser-appreciated qualities of webOS.
Finally, you, dear PreCentral reader, got a small shout-out as it was noted that we're all waiting for new hardware. While Galbraith was able to reference the "exciting, geeky technology" coming later this fall in the next big version of webOS, he (like us) exhorts you to remember that this HP deal is less than two weeks old and they're working "fast and furious."