WebOS: It's not just WebApps | webOS Nation

WebOS: It's not just WebApps

by Dieter Bohn Thu, 15 Jan 2009 2:47 pm EST

Many have wondered just what the application development for the webOS would look like.  During the Keynote, Palm CEO Ed Colligan talked about how development would happen entirely in HTML, CSS, and Javascript.  This sounded like it would be a very robust platform, despite Palm's claims that they developed all their native applications with the same tools.

Well PalmInfoCenter has an excellent interview with Pandora CTO Pandora WebOS Tom Conrad, who explains that unlike the original iPhone apps, webOS apps are fully native and have full access to native storage, internet access, and more via the Mojo SDK:

What you really have, is that you have an environment where a developer can write a traditional application – so, an application that gets installed onto the phone with all its code and all of its user interface elements and that is actually local to the phone. There's also a database and file storage that allows you to take data from the internet connection and store it locally – so when you're browsing your contacts, for example, you're interacting with an application that's local to the phone, with interface elements that are local to the phone and with contacts that are actually sitting on the phone.

What makes it this "webOS" is that the programming models for your developer rather than being C or Java is really just HTML and CSS and Javascript. So you can take a developer who's been developing web applications and quickly get them productive in the webOS SDK, leveraging their familiarity with these web-based standards. And that decision is one of the reasons we were able to get, very very quickly, a version of Pandora up and running. We were able to take one of our star web developers – someone who has never touched the Palm webOS and not done mobile development before – and have that person be immediately productive because it's all based on systems that they're familiar with from web development.

Sounds like a fairly robust platform to us, and the ease of development is perfectly in line with what we predicted in our Pre First Impressions article.  Of course, really graphically rich applications will have a hard time in this framework, but Palm has definitely made some subtle "noises" that more robust applications with full access to the Linux core of webOS might be possible down the road.  In the meanwhile, there will be plenty to do here and -- more importantly -- plenty of developers able to do it.