Novacom hacked to work over Wi-Fi, wireless from-the-desktop app installs on the horizon | webOS Nation

Novacom hacked to work over Wi-Fi, wireless from-the-desktop app installs on the horizon 14

by arthurthornton Mon, 02 Apr 2012 6:33 pm EDT

Novacom hacked to work over Wi-Fi, wireless app installs on the horizon

As a mobile app developer, I can definitely say one of the least pleasant things about webOS development is that to deploy applications you are required to plug in your webOS device to your computer. In a world where we have Touchstone charging, the easier way to get that app from your computer to the device is via a cable. Granted, this is the norm for practically all development environments, but this is 2012, and it shouldn’t be. If your webOS device is connected to the same wireless network as your computer, should it really be necessary to connect them with a USB cable?

No, it should not, at least that's what webOS developer Eric Blade has to say about it. He's posted instructions on the HP webOS Developer Forum on how to get your TouchPad or other webOS-powered device to imitate an emulator and connect to your computer via Novacom via Wi-Fi. The instructions are a bit involved though, it's certainly not something that is novice-friendly, so much so that yours truly set out to build a webOS app to automate the on-device process. Homebrew developer extraordinaire Jason Robitaille also has plans to automate the computer setup process with webOS Quick Install, which should further open this wonderful new wireless application deployment setup to the entire homebrew world. Exciting times we live in.

This is all still pretty alpha stuff, but if you're up to the challenge, hit the source link below to get involved in the development. Or you can just install it as it is and help with debugging (there's always debugging), with the caveat that this is early software. If you're not up to that challenge, that's fine - pretty soon the yet-to-be-named wireless Novacom setup app will be in the webOS Nation Homebrew Gallery for all to install.


Lol, extraordinaire. Nice one

Cool work eblade

I'm sorry; do you mean like "WiFi File Sharing" by Shifty Axel and logo by BlueRQ?

I use that app each time I want to share anything from my Mac and webOS devices (TouchPad and Veer).

Nope - this is installing apps, not shifting files. Big difference.

That's what happens when you opensource software. I like it!

The interesting aspect of this is that it has always been possible and it would have been pretty simple to add this functionality had anybody really bothered to look into it, as the novacomd binary actually spits out the commands that are possible to run.
In fact, this doesn't even use the open-sourced novacom code (not that it even could use the novacomd code, it doesn't build in its current state).

For sure. I had certainly asked around about it a few times, and some people threw out some ideas, but none of them really led anywhere.

What really got it, though, was once we got the source code, I started pouring through it, and the documentation on how it works, and once I saw how the two pieces worked together and communicated, then I was able to take that knowledge and translate it to the software that we have already built in.

So, yeah, I'm surprised no one had looked into it enough to discover it before, but now I've got a bunch more knowledge about how it works, and we can all WiFi deploy apps. With our TouchStone chargers, and the WiFi File Sharing apps, this means we never have to plugin again. :)

wow..awessome work..


Just back from the developer forum thread, great discovery Arthur!

Freaking Awesome !!!

Now, that novacom is opensource, magnificent things start to happen. The next big thing would be a working novacom for all Linux distros.

After novacom stopped working on openSuSE for whatever reason, I joined the fight against this "ubuntu only" silliness that has started to flood the community within the last few years.

I'm a GNU/Linux dev myself for 10 Years, now, so I do know that it's not always the fault of ubuntu and/or the css devs. But I also know that we at least have a chance now, to turn novacom into something useful for everyone.

How it can be considered a hack? Tcp/ip communcation was used by emulator for past few years. Device part missed correct command line (server tcp/ip address).
It is nothing to do with novacom open-sourcing....

So how is this different than what Preware and the App Catalog have been doing?

Because Preware and the App Catalog allow for over-the-web installation of apps for end users. App developers (and homebrew through WOSQI) still require USB to install apps directly to their phone or tablet. Furthermore, we need to use novacom to get app logs.
From an App Catalog standpoint, this doesn't matter. From a homebrew standpoint, this is pretty substantial - it could ease things a bit. Obviously the initial setup still requires WOSQI or Preware (which by extension requires a USB hookup initially), however after that everything can be done wirelessly.
For developers, like myself, this is a pretty massive advancement. No more dealing with USB cables to test out our apps and listen to the app logs.