App Review: webOS App Builder | webOS Nation

App Review: webOS App Builder 9

by Sharon L Copeland Fri, 08 Jun 2012 5:36 pm EDT

webOS app builder

We have always wanted to be that guy that makes the next great app. The perfect app that takes you and your small company into the strastosphere. Look at Angry Birds, Instagram, and Words with Friends. The best thing about webOS if you don't know already, we have the most talented and creative developers. Developers like Inglorious Apps with Notes HD, Arthur Thornton with Sparrow, and James Harris with Flash Cards who have really inspired the next generation of app designers. Why? Because webOS remains one of the best platforms to develop on. When webOS goes fully open source in the fall its only going to get even better and easier. So... you want to get in on the game, but you don’t have the skills. No problem, because with the Science Apps' new app webOS App Builder you can start building your own custom apps in no time flat.

webos app builder for touchpad

webOS App Builder's function is pretty simple: to build a custom news reader with a bunch of extra features. In essence, you give App Builder an RSS feed and it spits out the code for a custom app based around that RSS feed. Those extra features include Twitter and Pocket (formerly Read It Later) integration and offline caching as PDFs, in addition to the standard 'Share,,,' menus.

There are five different templates you can choose from, depending on how you want your app to look and function. webOS App Builder is set up in a step-by-step process that takes you through everything from naming the app to entering your RSS feed (if you've got broad interests, you can use a Google News search term and grab the RSS feed for that) to picking your colors. If that doesn't seem like a lot of steps, that's because it really isn't a lot of steps. They made it easy.

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Once you've got all your data entered, templates picked out, and colors selected, tapping the big Preview button gives you a look at what exactly you can expect your app to look like. It's the magic of Enyo.

Things have been relatively easy up to this point, but we're only half-way there. When you hit that Preview button, you get an app code that you have to email to yourself. When you open the email it includes detailed step by step instructions on downloading the proper programs (Windows PC only, alas), along with video content to help you along. Once you've read the instructions, it's just a matter of copying and pasting the code into the proper folders using Microsoft’s Notepad app and sending it to the App Catalog. It's at this point that you can get fancy with things like custom app logos (just add an icon.png file in the app folder before packaging, otherwise you get the default Luna logo).

webos app builder for touchpad

If you've been waiting for that Kumquat News app or wondering when somebody was going to get the local newspaper a webOS client, wait and wonder no longer. With webOS App Builder you can do it yourself, easily and quickly. While there's a bit of customization in picking your template and colors, we hope that future versions of webOS App Builder allow for more tweaking and modifications to the apps, as well as more extra features. But then that adds complexity to webOS App Builder, where the goal is simplicity and ease of use. You won't be building the next great webOS news app with webOS App Builder, but for $5.99 you can build the webOS news app you've been waiting for - considering how much time and money it could take to learn and understand HTML5, CSS, JavaScript, and the Enyo, that's money well spent.