webOS Developers, here is your 2011 to do list: Maintain Mojo, Start on Enyo | webOS Nation
 
 

webOS Developers, here is your 2011 to do list: Maintain Mojo, Start on Enyo 57

by Dieter Bohn Sat, 12 Feb 2011 4:51 pm EST

After the confusion (and correction) about whether traditional (or as HP called them, "Legacy") webOS apps would run natively on webOS 3, we are happy to say that we now have greater-than-140-character-hints that the answer is yes. HP has responded to that and several other concerns with a statement to us (it's after the break).

Just so that it's very clear to everybody, here's the score for existing apps:

  • Mojo Apps will work on webOS 1.4.5, webOS 2.x, and webOS 3 natively. You should probably give some thought to how your app will scale up to the Pre 3's resolution and down to the Veer's, though
  • Also give some thought to deprecating the back button and Meta-Taps on your Mojo App, as the former will appear as on-screen buttons in a window on webOS 3 and the latter aren't quite figured out yet
  • HP is recommending developers keep maintaining their current webOS Mojo apps because they expect you'll be able to sell plenty of them on Veer and Pre 3. 
  • HP is also recommending you develop your app in Enyo in parallel. Note, however, that HP doesn't expect Enyo support to phones until an update "later this year."

For new apps, it's a different game and HP recognizes it's a "business" decision. We take that as code for "hard one," because here are the options:

  • Develop your new app in Mojo. It will work great on all phones from the Pre to the Veer to the Pre 3 and HP doesn't appear to be sunsetting native support for your apps at least through 2011. However, it will appear in a fussy window at an unknown resolution on Tablets undergirded by back and forward buttons.
  • Develop your new app in Enyo. It will not work on any phone older than the Pre 2 and won't work on any phones at all until HP releases a software update "later this year." However, it will be a boss experience on the TouchPad this summer and a killer, easy-to-maintain-for-multiple-devices app once the phones get their update.

We can't make that decision for you, but the Enyo option for new apps is starting to look pretty compelling if you can forego making any money on apps between now and the TouchPad's release. We kind of hate to point this out, but we sort of doubt there are a ton of webOS developers making their entire living off webOS and we sort of doubt that the webOS ecosystem will be getting huge before Enyo lands on phones, so Enyo makes sense.

On the other hand - for real - we want more apps now and will pay for good (or even decent) ones and we are willing to bet most webOS users are in the same boat. The question is: do you think there are enough of us to make it worth the Mojo choice?

In any case, if you're struggling through the business decision, our very own webOS Developer forums are full of people with the same predicament. If you're looking for more details directly from HP, well, you might try asking in their own forums after you read that full statement after the break.

* On webOS smartphones, Mojo apps will look and behave exactly as they do in webOS 2.

* On TouchPad, Mojo apps will run in a card that occupies less than the full size of the display. An on-screen UI will be provided to simulate back and forward gestures.

As for how developers should approach the Mojo-to-Enyo transition, here's what we recommend:

* Developers with existing Mojo apps should continue to support their apps over the next several months -- fix bugs, make minor feature enhancements, and optimize for the higher-resolution Pre3 display. The upcoming Veer and Pre3 launches represent substantial sales opportunities for these existing apps. In parallel, developers should start working on Enyo versions of their apps, targeting TouchPad first and understanding that they'll be able to leverage their work to release Enyo-based smartphone updates later in the year.

* Developers planning new apps need to consider their business goals and make a choice. For many developers, the best option will to be to start with Enyo -- again, targeting TouchPad first and smartphones later in the year. Developers who are focused on near-term sales or who are eager to capitalize on the Veer and Pre3 launches may choose to start new apps in Mojo, but should factor in the effort required to rebuild their apps in Enyo down the road.

57 Comments

Thanks guys for feeding us useful information as you get it and can analyze it. We appreciate your efforts to help us in our time of need...for more info!

Sooooo everyone with a Pre/Pixi KNOWS they are not going to get any shazam or other great apps... just game ports from iPhone.

Also there is NO SDK out yet... and ZERO userbase for WebOS 2.0... this SUCKS. SDK is Alpha and may be a month before i get a hold of it legally... And they told us we will need to unlearn mojo!!! either way they flushed us down the toilet and hit the reset button.. we are starting from scratch as far as i'm concerned. This is a one year setback as Pre3 is coming out 5-6 months from now, after iPhone5 and iPad2 lol

That being said... long term this will be a good selling platform and if you can get through this current bullshit and write apps on the side you may do well! but this is a YEAR or TWO away.

And thats IF HP doesn't write the apps themselves... like they said earlier...

I'll admit, i haven't watched the think beyond video, but i have read most of the articles on precentral & engadget about it. So whats going on with the UI on the Touchpad? Why does it not have a gesture area? and how does one execute the commands the gesture bar usually handles in it (for upcoming Enyo apps, not the emulated Mojo apps which they have already said will have buttons on the screen for the emulator)?

I'm guessing the gesture area interfered with holding the tablet in some positions and if there was just one gesture area, instructing a user how to interact with it would change depending on how it was oriented (swipe down for right swipe, up for left, etc). If not, there would need to be a gesture area on all four sides and only one could be active at any given time. At some point, it was probably suggested that just providing traditional forward/backward icons would eliminate any confusion and would also mean that just the visible portion of the screen would require touch sensors.

Okay, the TouchPad will not have a gesture area (sad, but I still hope it just wasn't ready on Feb. 9th) and will "emulate" the gestures with buttons.

As far as I remember the preview of Enyo last year, applications will switch into "pane"-mode, when on a big-screen (i.e. Tablet, PC) and into "stage"-mode when on the small screen. Fine with me.

But what are the long-term ideas of HP? Will they remove the gesture area completely (from the phones too?), or will the TouchPad2 feature a 4-side gesture area with rotation-based functions?

Gee, Blackberry sure seems to have figured out gestures on a tablet!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DGF5Ympf-eU

"Also give some thought to deprecating the back button and Meta-Taps on your Mojo App, as the former will appear as on-screen buttons in a window on webOS 3 and the latter aren't quite figured out yet"

Just put a damn gesture area on the tablet, HP. It's a core part of the WebOS experience and taking it out robs WebOS of part of what it is. If you have to put one on all four sides then spend the cash to do it. Have every one but the "bottom" one be disabled via the accelerometer depending on how you're holding it. Make your navigation interface standard across all devices so it's less of a headache for everyone involved.

I'm actually disappointed by this... imagine how you could have used the gesture area on a tablet.

Picture holding the TouchPad in portrait orientation, reading a book in the Kindle app. Now imagine, say, swiping downwards with your thumb on the right side of the screen and triggering that gesture area to flip a page forward, or doing so on the left side of the screen to flip back a page. Would've been very natural, just as the forward/back buttons on an actual Kindle.

Instead, it'll be the same 'swipe the screen or tap the border' that every other smartphone/tablet implementation of eBook readers have.

just put the gesture are on all four sides and use the accelerometer!
I second that RIM's playbook is robbing WebOS (as well as HP).
I don't need a pad but if I get a pre 3 I'll be getting a TP just for the eco system but if it's missing a gesture area(s) - and i won't take less then 4! Messing with start button when you are in landscape is wierd. It's ok to copy(not really!) the best features of the market leader but why every weak one as well?
Rumor has it even iphone is about to loose it's home button. guess what it'll have?

That they didn't put gesture areas on the tablet is mind boggling.

If they spend more cash, that's more cash you have to spend to buy it. They can't rise the price from what they plan if they want to compete with the iPad.

My guess is the "TouchPad" is an Android tablet HP already had in development, which is the true reason for no gesture area. Very LAME if true.

One thing that remains unclear is whether we need to maintain separate Mojo and Enyo versions of our apps. Let's say you have an existing Mojo app and you decide to update it to Enyo, do you create a new app id? Doing that will force your existing customers to have to pay for the app again. That's not too fair.

If you use the same app id, then existing customers can upgrade assuming they're running on a Pre 2 or later. But what about people who are using older devices? They'll be stuck with an app that will not receive any more updates. That's also not fair.

So which option is better?

Enyo will not be compatible on legacy devices on the mojo frame so we will need to maintain two builds for legacy devices and the eventual new devices.

Unless the legacy devices do get some OTA update to give an Enyo emulator to eliminate this need. Hoping that this "patch to upgrade plan" is good enought for most to takeup so this extra work won't be needed.

That's a question I hadn't thought about. I'm hoping I won't have to rebuy all of the (MANY) apps that I bought, because that'd be crazy, and I probably would just rather go without a great deal of them.

I hate to give developers bad news, but I for one have bought my last webOS app for my poor Sprint Pre. For the last few months I've bought apps knowing that I would be able to port them to my new phone that I thought FOR SURE would be coming by February or March. Now we find out it's not coming until sometime in the Summer and most likely not to Sprint at all.

I'm sorry developers (and HP) but I can't give you any more money. At least not for now.

Pretty hard to understand this.
If you buy a new app today (Mojo) you can use it now and also you can use it on the Pre3, so if you buy a $0.99, $1.99 whatever app today, and a new shiny Pre3 this summer. Where is your problem?
You can use this app for at least the next 12 months after you bought a new phone. We're not talking about thousands of dollars.
You buy a coffee at Starbucks for 30 minutes fun with it, and stop buy apps for a buck that you can at least!!! use for 12months.

Do you really think, that developers that start developing Enyo for the TouchPad don't try to also charge for a HD version. Look at the other markets. Mostly (not all, of course!) apps are available as HD version for iPads and you can buy also a version for the iPhone.
I think the this whole thing will go the same way, so a HD version has often more features and therefore it's totally o.k. if a developer charges e.g. 3 bucks for it and the smartphone version is for 1 dollar in the catalog.

We aren't going to continue to develop in Mojo because it is incompatible with the future. I will maintain my current Mojo apps. IF I decide to re-release any of them for Enyo then I will try and feature match the Mojo version, but it will surely lag behind and no promises.

Sales for apps are down already and basically HP is saying no more new users for 6 months. And even with those new users I need to re-write my apps to look right on the new hardware. Sorry I am probably venting a bit much, but I for one am considering jumping ship entirely. This coming from a self proclaimed WebOS Fanboy.

Pretty hard to understand what you are not understanding. There is nothing from the presentation to make me think the Pre3 is going to be on Sprint. If it was just me I wouldn't care but I have my wife and 2 kids on my plan all with overlapping contracts so leaving Sprint isn't really an option.

I'm not going to keep investing in a platform I'm not going to be a part of.

Strongly suspect we never see *any* of the annoucned devices besides the Veer, at least not in any quantity (maybe a Pre2-like launch, but no more). They are not quite top-of-the-line today, and by summer, which is likely 8 months or so from now, the Pre3 will be a $100 or $50 phone and Veer a freebie, on contract.

Sorry, but webOS is dead. Move on.

"If you buy a new app today (Mojo) you can use it now and also you can use it on the Pre3"

Not if they wont be releasing the phone on Sprint. I feel the same way, I wont spend any more money of another app until I see Sprint get on board.

I'm more concerned for the effect it will have on game ports, and other C-based applications, cause now webOS-phones are gonna be seriously fragmented - foremost because of all the different resolutions.

Me on the other hand will continue to buy apps for my Pre+. I don't cafe whether it is mojo, enyom bojo, boozo...i like good apps and will continue to buy good ones..

Yeah - they're basically telling all of us that we are absolutely not part of the plan for WebOS 3.0 and beyond. All the current launch device users, and plus users are all not part of their future. That's the way I read it. I mean sure, you can argue that they will still want my business. However, they don't care about installed user base for WebOS as it currently sits (here in the U.S. that is). Go ahead, run out and get a Pre 2 so you can be a part of that - oh, no wait - the Pre 3 will be out this summer and then you can be a part of that...oh wait, damn - there's no more interested developers. Whatever, HP is doing this acquisition of Palm situation a disservice. They could do better than ditching the current users with pointless devices. I already jumped ship, but I sought information in order to keep WebOS relevant in my mind. They just handed WebOS (in general) two 100lb plates for each arm, threw it in the ocean, and told it to swim.

You'd think that given the low number of apps for webOS, HP would have tried to make the developer's life easier, not more complex. There is a third option in the article that isn't mentioned: Stop developing for webOS altogether.

Sadly, I see many developers doing just that.

I've been looking at the early access Enyo SDK today, but I keep getting this nagging feeling that HP doesn't care about the WebOS faithful. I am currently mulling my options, but I am currently leaning toward dumping the platform all together. I suspect I am not the only developer feeling this way.

Hmm...did that much change between Mojo and Enyo? I haven't looked at it, but I can only imagine things have gotten easier??? From a developers perspective what do you and others think? Sorli...

Actually, what interesting is the fact that maybe HP plans to add the Gesture Area and just didn't have time to finish implementing it for Feb 9th demo.

Who knows, but it sure would be missed by those webOS users who are so comfortable with it. Sorli...

R.I.P Palm & Sprint & hello Windowsphone7 :) Good luck in trying to regain what little marketshare ya have left..

This is to be my move. Probably today.

By the way, has anyone used The Venue Pro? Since I can't hold one in my hand it's a little scary to just run out and buy something (especially something from Dell, maker of the world's worst PCs).

If anyone has one, I'd love to hear your experiences!

Read the reviews. Its a solid phone, quite heavy, but it comes packed with only 256mb of ram. Its not a huge deal as the platform doesn't support multitasking yet but still, every other Windows Phone has half a gig.

precentral - can you please find out what Enyo apps will look like on smartphones? Will they use the gesture area?

I had been holding off on some apps until feb9th. wanted to see where we were gonna go. now I'm still confused and lost lol

although actually doing the math, the amount of apps I haven't bought that I want totals about $10 or so.

$10 ain't a big investment. I like webOS enough to do it, and they'll work on the pre3. and since I'm not eligible to upgrade till the end of sept (Thanks Big Red!) I'll get a decent period of time of use out of em even if the new superpre4 this fall or whatever is enyo only.

I shudder to think of having to buy my apps again though, but wouldn't I have to do that anyway if I jumped to 'droid or wp7 or anywhere?

/shrug.

if enyo and webOS 2.2 allow the star trek communicator sound to play when I pop the slider open, then I'll be content.

"HP doesn't appear to be sunsetting native support for your apps at least through 2011"
This is not right. How can you expect developers to continue coding in Mojo, whose shelf-life is "unknown" beyond 2011? Consumers aren't going to be buying these apps which may not run in 2012.
On top of that the Enyo SDK is not officially released yet?
The answers provided by HP are not reassuring.

They're not telling you that they staunchly refuse to allow hybrid apps. Hybrid apps work on 1.4.5, with pretty much the only bugs developers can't work around having to do with updating apps. I know of one app that, using hybrids, can give great, much-requested features to users. I know some other apps currently in betas and in the app catalog that use hybrids. Even though they work on 1.4.5, the only option currently available to us devs wishing to use hybrid functionality is to drop 1.4.5 support entirely.

This is bullshit.

Why they don't emulate back and forward gesture by touching the screen back or forward with two fingers?

The gesture area is too important on the webos experience to let it out of Touchpad!

We will continue to develop apps with Mojo. Because those apps will run on current phones and future phones, at least until the end of the year and possibly longer. This includes NEW apps.

HP does not tell when Enyo will be available on phones. If "later this year" means october for example, should we not write apps for the phones until then? That's crazy from a developer and customer standpoint.

If we use Enyo in the next months, then it will be a tablet (aka "HD") app, either new or a port of an existing Mojo app. This could convert to an Enyo phone app "later this year" then.

What remains to be solved is the app id question. But if it comes like on other platforms, then many apps will exist twice (phone and "HD"), at least for a while.

(VivaLV Software)

Clearly Mojo is dead. Developers should abandon it asap, and start getting good at Enyo. Really what's the point of making a new mojo app? Most of us Sprint folks are upgrade eligible now or will be shortly. So we'll be moving on to a Pre 3 (hopefully) or whatever is the latest and greatest Sprint is offering. The way I see it 6mos from now less than half of us are going to be using legacy pre/pixi's anyway, and that would be true even if they were ugraded to 2.0. So who would developers be targeting with their new mojo app?

Remember, Enyo on phones will come "later this year". So, if the Pre 3 is available in June and will get Enyo in October, you will not have any new apps in this timeframe, if everyone abandons Mojo.

And new Mojo apps, that will be released now or soon, will still run on Pre 3.

Also, what about users who bought a Pre or Pre + in 2010? They cannot upgrade to the Pre 3 in June.

And no Enyo apps will work on all old hardware.. that people are now getting rid of Pres and pixis at alarming rates.. 2 years will be up in a few months for the initial 1+ million pre's on Sprint and since NO WebOS phone on Sprint... guess what... se ya user base!! Why would anyone start a mojo app at this point? 5-6 months till we see any WebOS 2.0 phone....

5-6 months? The Veer is supposed to be out in spring and HP has been taking orders for Version Pre2's that ship on Feb 17. Others have had them longer.

What webOS developers? Sorry I couldn't resist.

This is kinda of nuts, to see someone kill their own company as people are directing them how not to make these mistakes.

The "Cards' their always bragging about, isn't so unique after all, still very neat but while other companies come up with things that meet their competitive advantages they do nothing to meet our needs and compete with other companies.

Take a look at the link below on Nokia's Symbian3 devices. Would Palm ever release something that says 250 new features? Their lucky if they have ten on a new OS version.

http://www.nokiausa.com/find-products/phones/nokia-n8-alt/features
(look 2 pictures down) nearly the same functioning thing as cards and we'll all take these kind of first party features. Again a combination of this kind of application on WebOS is what we need. What is amazing is the efficiency of the device this get 7 hours on 3g. Thats 2 over the average and 3-4 over the Pre. I can;t picture my phone working for that long.

Never thought I'd say this at 24 but having a Pre has become a truly bad decision as I don't even feel comfortable being out in public knowing my device is going die at some point in the night. Think about it for a bit. It simply is against human nature to take a device out with them that they expect to die through a portion of the night. If these were more disposable you would throw out and buy a new one stating the device was defective.

Its kind of making me laugh. What HP/Palm choose not to realize is if you purchased one on contract your not out 200 dollars. Your out 1000. To replace the device out of cotract not to mention supporting them while they were just on Sprint with terrible service. It doesn't work in most buildings, and I go from 5 bars of 3g to 2 bars of 1x in the same location?

That isn't possible unless their distributing broad ban. Whats worse is someone somewhere thinks thats smart and the rest of know its nothing we want to be a part of. I will be changing service come the end of the year and unfortunately phones.

I do see the good in the phone but your intentionally making it difficult to enjoy owning one. Developers must be broke as hell.

500k for one development studio pretty much allows a person to own the Palm Market with quality function applications.

As a non-developer, average user type, here is how I interpret HP's plan to reinvigorate webos so far:
1) Release webos2.0 only in some parts of the world. Tell existing users they will get an upgrade soon.
2) Stall and delay for several months, never releasing 2.0 worldwide
3) Stage a big event to show off the next generation of equipment that will really let the OS shine. Show off some really killer equipment and how everything works together nicely.
4) Drop the bomb that this awesome equipment is still 6-9 months away (this would be "ready to ship" as HP's CEO defines it I guess). Also, why not ditch the gesture area on the tablet... no one really uses it anyways.
5) Say screw you to current owners waiting for their 2.0 upgrade... oops, our bad.
6) Oh yeah, we are going to fragment the OS now... let's even copy androids version numbers!
7) To our developers (who are now looking at no new customers until mid to late 2011 at best): let's make it even less appealing to develop for webos with this enyo/mojo stuff.

Sounds like a good plan to me, hooray for HP!

HP has given me NO reason to believe anything they tell me about webos whatever-point-whatever features or release dates. They have given me NO reason to think they are any more competent than Palm was. I'm locked in by Sprint contract, so I have no choice but to wait...I'm hoping HP wakes up soon.

I think HP needs to change the new slogan
"Think Beyond" to
"Think Beyond HP, WAY BEYOND!"

hp - you can call it whatever you want, but "later this year" is still to us "in the upcoming months"

As the world is starting to see, nothing changes with you guys.

No dev can get a dime (a yuan, rupee, or rupiah either) from me unless they open the store to the world! But I can buy an app and a phone from the biggies who have either fifty or seventy times more apps. Yes there might be some crap in there, but both can Skype and edit docs. One fragments, the other doesn't, neither offers backwards compatibility for all apps on all versions....but both can be bought in my local currency HARDWARE AND SOFTWARE. I need both, coming months are too little too late.

I love to read the comments here, some leave and come back to Webos saying they miss it, others feel liberated from the BWS (battered Webos syndrome). My pre- mic died, so I'm gonna have to experience another platform soon as I'm loath to be a (insert french word for shower)bag with a BT earpiece (oh and a poor blue-tooth stack THAT WON'T BE UPGRADEABLE TO 2.0!!! ever???). I don't even know how to think about the nugget that the Veer has been in the FCC since August of last year!!! The Arabs are rebelling against their leaders, we BWS (and all US citizens, but that's another rant) should leave "in the coming months" for a cycle or two to show our disgust. Who needs our evangelizing a platform (Sure, he smacks me around a bit, but I deserve it, or he's a good man, and I know he loves me)?

seriously. Why can't they just add that functionality to the Touchpad? Is it confirmed that the hardware is final? I'm seriously asking the question. It just doesn't make logical sense. "S" and "M" webOS devices both have gesture areas. That just seems like one giant detail that shouldn't be missed. What does that say about the kind of quality we are going to get in future hardware? And I would gladly pay extra for this feature. The gesture area was quite innovative for the mobile space. I don't know how many times I pick android slabs and iphones where I always want to gesture up and gesture back and meta tap. Changed my whole experience for handheld devices. You wanna stand out from the tablet crowd, then this would be one of things. I'm sorely hoping that this is on of those things that hp fixes before production launch. Hell, summer seems like plenty of time.

Ok, I know this may be a stupid comment and question. I want to try to become a developer. What would I need to do that. I have not ever developed anything before, is there any specific knowledge I have to have? And what program(s) would I need to download and or buy in order to do so? I would appreciate if somebody can help. And if it would be to much information or explaining you can email me at cperez0515@gmail.com

Well, now HP is telling Enyo won't work on any phones at all until HP releases a software update "later this year."

What if "later this year" they discover that Veer and Pre3 are not powerful enough to be upgradeable?

If you believe what HP is saying about webOS 2.x, this may well happen...

Does this mean that the gesture area
will eventually be eliminated from the
phones too?

I am not a WebOS developer. But if I was, amongst other things I would also be wondering if:

- I should learn Microsoft's development tools knowing there will soon be Nokia WP7 devices OR
- I should learn Enyo, but knowing I can no longer trust HP/Palm with anything they say nor their device support intentions.

At the very least HP could have added a few key API's to Mojo, such as the microphone API, so developers could continue to make complelling apps for the Pre's (you know, Shazam, VOIP, etc) knowing they would work on all the existing phones and likely most of the future phones.

Way to go HP. You have the advantage of integrated hardware and software, yet you throw it away and decide to fragment your whole eco system, worse than Google has done with Android. At least Android has scle behind it so each fragment is still bigger than WebOS share of the market.

Is that not a Gesture area at the bottom ?

I don't understand why they boast that you can develop with enyo in a web browser but claim enyo apps can not run on old hardware?

If you are hitting webos api's to make a great webos app i guess you might be stuck with this predicament but if you are planning to port to other platforms which most would want, you want to write more generic and use phonegap and these apps should run on old hardware.

RE: Gesture area.
Once they decided that webos would be scaling up to tablet and maybe desktop (or larger even. Have you seen those large multi touch displays? Great for control software and education markets) the gesture area had to go. Gesture areas are not practical on a full touch screen.

Gesture areas are a way of conserving screen real estate...not so important on a large screen device.

WebOS Developers, here is your 2011 to-do list: Figure out how to sunset your applications and terminate support services from current customer base without drawing too much ire from those customers. Second item. Move to Android.