Announcing early access for webOS 2.0

7 BY devrel

I am happy to announce that developers who are members of our Early Access program can now download the first early access release of webOS 2.0. Please check the private forum for more information and details on getting your copy of the release. If you are not currently a member of the early access program, you can learn how to join here.

webOS 2.0 is the next generation of Palm’s mobile operating system, and it brings a number of new features that developers are going to want to use and features to make using webOS devices better. This beta of webOS 2.0 is being made available to let developers start building apps that take advantage of the new feature, and will be released to users later this year.

Here are a few highlights of what’s coming in webOS 2.0.

Stacks

Palm’s groundbreaking card metaphor made multi-tasking on a handheld device easy and intuitive for the first time. webOS 2.0 takes it to the next level by grouping related cards in stacks, reducing clutter, and making it even easier to move quickly between tasks.

Just Type

We’ve renamed Universal Search to Just Type and extended it to do much more. Quick Actions makes it easier than ever for your users to update social status, set reminders, add items to a shopping list — or do whatever it takes to get things done in the context of your app.

Exhibition

Exhibition is a webOS 2.0 feature designed to inform, entertain and delight you while your device is docked. Set your device on the Palm Touchstone Charging Dock, and it will enter a special full-screen mode optimized for passive enjoyment and utility. While a handful of compelling Exhibition options will be built into webOS 2.0, but we’re counting on you and your fellow developers to make Exhibition truly great. You can add Exhibition support to an existing app, or build something new just for Exhibition.

Synergy

In webOS 2.0, we’re opening Synergy up to our developer ecosystem. You’ll be able to develop Synergy connectors for Contacts, Calendar, and Messaging — and later, for other webOS data types as well. Using the new Synergy APIs, you can let your users:

  • Connect to your chat or IM network from the webOS Messaging app
  • Access their personal contacts, their favorite businesses, or your community’s shared address book from the webOS Contacts UI
  • View and manage their personal and shared calendars, keep track of their favorite sports and entertainment events, and more, from within the webOS Calendar app

JavaScript Services

Roll your own services with Node.js: The popular Node.js runtime environment is built into webOS 2.0, which means that you can now develop not just webOS apps but also services in JavaScript. The active Node ecosystem is on hand to provide community support and a rapidly growing library of modules that you can use in your webOS services.

PDK Plug-ins

Today, you can use the webOS Plug-in Development Kit (PDK) to build games and immersive apps in C/C++. But the feature that gives the PDK its name—the ability to build C/C++ plug-ins for your HTML/JavaScript/CSS apps—is still in beta.

This feature will exit beta in webOS 2.0, opening the door for you to distribute apps that incorporate PDK plug-ins. Using plug-ins, you can more easily port app logic from other platforms while leveraging the Mojo Framework to give users a familiar interface and integrate seamlessly into webOS.

HTML5 Enhancements

webOS 2.0 adds a number of new HTML5 features and enhancements, giving you more tools to work with when building apps and sites for webOS.

Don’t think that this is all there is to webOS 2.0—these are just the highlights. We’ve added a lot of features that will give your apps more power and flexibility than ever. We’re excited about what webOS 2.0 has to offer, and we think you will be, too!

Topics  Announcements

This Week in Hot Apps

1 BY devrel

Wow, what a difference a week makes!

Last week saw the release of several highly anticipated games for webOS. Rovio’s Angry Birds, by some counts the most popular game on the iPad, has made it’s webOS debut. Filled with crazy pig defeating action, it has already wasted countless hours here at Palm HQ. Astraware also released their highly anticipated Sudoku and OddBlob apps. Go go webOS games!

Angry Birds and Pixi Dust are still dominating the top spots while the 50k tier has seen some back and forth jockeying for position. Galcon had slipped into #4 for a bit, but is back up to #3. On the free side Glow Hockey FREE came out of no where and zoomed straight to #2 in just a week. Clearly there’s demand for great new webOS apps.

Lower down in the rankings we are seeing a ton of movement.
Last week we had a few empty spots on the free side, but no more. Don’t think it means you can’t compete, however. We’ve still got a month left and every day a few more apps go from nothing to be right in middle of the pack. We’ve gotten an influx of interesting music & sound apps, including Drummer, Tonal Pool,
Mini Piano, Dog Whistle, and the always handy Service Bell.

On the Fast Mover’s side we can see that Angry Birds and Glow Hockey top the chart, no surprise, but further down there are a ton of interesting new apps popping up; such as The Billy Goat Brain Academy and puzzler Sigma from BigStack Studios.

Oh, and one more thing. webOS 1.4.5 shipped for the Verizon Pixi Pluses last night, which means there are even more phones out their waiting to buy your Hot Apps. Time to get to hackin’ on more apps!

Topics  Hot Apps

PDK Hot Apps: X-Plane

0 BY Fred Patton

Editor’s note: Today, we’re featuring a guest blogger – your intrepid editor’s son Rick,  who is 14 and almost as big a flight simulator buff as his dad. When I mentioned that I intended to do an”Interesting Apps” post on X-Plane, he quickly volunteered to do it for me!

We’re both big fans—I was probably one of the very first purchasers of X-Plane for webOS—and we’ve both had a blast playing the many versions of X-Plane that are available. Take it away, Rick!

I’ve played flight simulators for a long time, and when I first played X-Plane for webOS, I was amazed how well it compared to the desktop versions of X-Plane and other simulators. While most of the game apps I’ve played focus on making either the environment, characters, or gameplay beautiful, X-Plane was able to combine all of those characteristics into one amazing package.

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This Week in Hot Apps

0 BY devrel

Greetings app fans! Apps are back in a big way! The competition is heating up and the apps are showing no sign of cooling down.

Pixi Dust is still the #1 free app, but ultra cool emulator VisualBoyAdvance, has taken the #1 paid spot from Crusade of Destiny. New to the fast movers is the free app Natural Drums, a complete drumset in your pocket. The new #1 Fast Mover in the paid lineup is Sparkle, a fun puzzle game with glowing orbs.

Though it’s only in the 10k bracket right now, I want to give a special mention to pixel shooter Radiant, and it’s lite version Radiant Lite. Radiant is an arcade game in the style of Galaga. It’s not just any shooter, though. It’s a wonderful nostalgic look at classic arcade games from the view of players who grew up with it, now translated into modern form. It has a rockin’ electronic soundtrack, cute characters with a chunky pixely feel, and everything is bathed in a soft Tron-esque light. If you are a child of the 80s then you’ll love Radiant.

That’s it for Hot Apps this week. The competition is roaring and PDK apps are flooding into the catalog. However, there are still 12 empty slots in the free category that could be filled with your app. Get to codin’!

Topics  Hot Apps

Interviewing the Mighty Eagle of Angry Birds as he publishes the game to webOS

3 BY devrel

Peter Vesterbacka has the coolest title right now. He is “Mighty Eagle” of Rovio, the gaming company behind the mega-hit Angry Birds (which has topped the App Store for what feels like an eternity even though it is a matter of months!). The game has burst onto webOS this week, and we had the pleasure of sitting down with Peter for a special Palm Developer Podcast chat about both the experience of having a run away hit, and the experience of bringing it to the webOS platform.

You can probably see how much Ben and I actually enjoy the game ourselves as we talk about it with Peter. The soundtrack lingers in my head even as I write this post :)

If you watch and listen to the podcast you will learn:

  • What Angry Birds is, and the history behind the title (green pigs? why!)
  • How Rovio is a very experienced gaming company
  • The secrets behind the gameplay, and lessons for game developers out there in this regard
  • Thoughts on why the game has been a success, and where they will be taking it from here
  • How they reached out to the webOS community, and how the community responded in force :)
  • How shocking simple it was to actually port the game to webOS

Fancy writing some games for webOS? Already have something that you would like to port? Check out the PDK to get your share of the $1 million Palm PDK Hot Apps program.

The views expressed on the podcast are not necessarily those of Hewlett-Packard Company, its affiliates or subsidiaries.

Third-party Developers

2 BY Fred Patton

Sometimes you need to get an app developed, but don’t really have the time or the expertise to do the project yourself. Maybe you need an enterprise app for your company, or you might just have a great idea for an app that you know people will love. In that case, one solution is to hire a third-party developer to take on the task.

We’ve gotten lots of inquiries about what companies are available to do webOS development. So to help out, we’ve put together a list of third-party developers and consultants who would love to help.

Of course, HP and Palm can’t guarantee your results – your mileage may vary. And you’ll want to discuss your specific needs with the consultant to make sure they’re the best fit for your task. But working with a company that’s intimately familiar with webOS can be a great time saver!

To check out the list, click here. If your company or name isn’t on this list and you’d like it to be, please contact us. We’d love to hear from you!

Hot Apps Award Logo Available

0 BY Fred Patton

If you were one of the winners of our first Hot Apps promotion, you may be looking for a way to capitalize on your success. One way to do that is to promote your app using our new Hot Apps Award logo.

Hot Apps Award logo

We’ve put together a set of usage guidelines on the Developer Portal. Check out the article here for more information, and to learn how to get your official copy of the logo.

Thanks to everybody who participated! We hope to see your PDK apps soon in our new PDK Hot Apps promotion.

Topics  Hot Apps

Interesting App: Ancient Frog LE

0 BY cyikeda

By no means would I categorize myself as a gamer, but found Ancient Frog LE to be instantly addictive from the first time I fired it up. Ancient Workshop did a great job of offering up stimulating puzzle challenges with a mesmerizing visual experience, while keeping the learning curve low with a user friendly interface. The result is a gaming experience that’s perfect for light play while waiting in line, or killing time on a train ride home. In other words, perfect for someone who knows their smart phone isn’t all work and no play.

The developers over at Ancient Workshop did a great job of animating the frog with super fluid movements that are really captivating. Froggy footprints mark the trail that needs to be traversed, and the number of moves are displayed in a daisy at the top of the screen. The overall user experience is enhanced with subtle ambient forest noises in the background. Nice touch. And I like that Undo and Redo are called by simply swiping forward or backward across the screen.

This is a great example of what’s possible with a graphically rich app that’s ported to webOS with the PDK. If you’ve got a C/C++ app that you haven’t ported over to webOS and you’re feeling inspired, the PDK makes porting a breeze, and there’s still ample time to be a fast mover in the Hot Apps competition.

Topics  Hot Apps

Featured Apps Preview Image Widget

0 BY devrel

Preview Image Widget
For Featured Apps we wanted to provide an attractive means for users to view the application preview images. Initially we investigated attempting to scale the ImageView widget to provide this functionality but its logic is tuned for displaying a single image and did not fit this design well, thus the creation of the new widget.

This UI displays up to three images to the user at a single time with one image being the focal point and portions of the next and previous images displayed for the user on either side of the focused image. The user is able to swipe between each of these images, allowing them to display an entire list of images without taking up significant screen space or resources.
Since this sort of UI may be a common need we have decided to open source its implementation as well a highlight some of the challenges that we ran into during it’s implementation. Today I will be covering just the usage of this widget, but future posts will highlight some of the nitty gritty details of the implementation.

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Topics  Featured Apps, Open Source Tagged , |

Debugging PDK Applications

1 BY unwiredben

When you build a C/C++-based application using the PDK for our webOS devices, you’re effectively doing embedded development. Here are some tips and hints for how you can get data back off the device to see what’s going on.

Getting a Device Shell

PDK developers usually need to get deeper access to their devices than developers using the JavaScript SDK. To facilitate that, we provide a pdk-device-install script in the SDK. This installs an SSH daemon on the device that listens to network connections coming over the USB cable. A tcprelay service installed on your desktop system redirects traffic from your localhost to the device. The usual way to shell into the device is:

  1. If you’ve just updated your OS, or you haven’t installed SSH before, run pdk-device-install install, then wait for the device to reboot.
  2. If you’re using Windows: putty -P 10022 root@localhost
  3. If you’re using Mac OS X: ssh -p 10022 root@localhost

An alternative way to get a shell is available if you’re on Mac OS X. One of the utilities that comes with the SDK on OS X is novaterm. This uses the native novacom protocol to open a shell to the device. Unfortunately, novaterm isn’t available on Windows as part of the SDK, so you’ll need to use SSH/PuTTY there.

Once you have a shell on the device, you have most of the common Linux shell commands available, like cd, cat, ls, cp, du, less, more, and vi. (The vi implementation on device is a version from Busybox, so many of the advanced commands don’t work.)
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