App Hack Winner: Got Game?

1 BY Fred Patton

Thanks to all of you who made “Got Game?” our best App Hack yet. We had a ton of entries, which made judging a challenge, but also a blast! We saw imaginative designs and control concepts, some great kids apps, and a few nicely rendered game clones. The winner, by a whisker, is…

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My Favorite Apps: Fred Patton

1 BY Fred Patton

As the Editor-in-chief of the HP webOS Developer Portal, I get to see a lot of apps – games, utilities, productivity apps, you name it. I’m always impressed by the imagination shown by our developer community. Today, I’m going to share with you three of my favorites. These are my “go-to” apps, the ones I use every day to make life easier and more enjoyable.

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My Favorite Apps: Sean Lindo

6 BY devrel

This new series gives members of the HP team a chance to talk about the apps they love – not just the popular ones you hear about all the time, but awesome apps that showcase the creativity of webOS developers and the power of the webOS platform.

Hey everyone! For those of you that didn’t catch my intro a few weeks back, I’m the Communications Manager for the webOS Developer Relations team. I’ve been a longtime fan and user of webOS. Having owned and used iOS, Android and BlackBerry devices, you could say I’ve tried just about all of them, and webOS is my preferred OS by far. Besides the elegance of the overall user experience, the webOS apps I use allow me to have just as much fun and be just as productive – if not more so – compared to apps I’ve used on other platforms. So, I’d like to give a shout-out to all the webOS developers out there. Keep it up!

With that said, here are a few of my favorite apps:

Sports Live! (More Solutions)

I’m a die-hard college football fan, love watching the NFL and totally psyched about March Madness. While I always (try to) make time to watch my beloved Northwestern Wildcats, I can’t always keep up with every game I want to see. But Sports Live! helps me check out the scoreboards and get real-time alerts on my favorite teams. It’s got a beautiful UI, has a ton of useful options for the frequency and types of alerts I want and makes killer use of webOS notifications, so I can check out what’s going on at a glance. The developer, More Solutions, also makes apps for individual sports. But if you’re a big sports fan like I am, just try this app. You won’t be sorry.

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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.

CustomWare on their new webOS Salesforce.com app

0 BY devrel

Editor’s note: When we saw the salesforce.com application written by CustomWare, we wrote to them and asked if they would write up their experience. The article below is written by them (and not Palm). If you would like to talk about your webOS development experience, please let us know!

I have been asked to complete a guest post on the experiences and technologies used to create the first webOS Salesforce.com app.

CustomWare made the decision to build a new webOS app that aligns with our mantra of Integration and Collaboration. There was a need for a Salesforce.com presence within webOS, and so CustomWare decided to develop a proof of concept around this necessity.

The proof of concept began with an initial prototype. This involved investigating the Salesforce.com Ajax APIs, and whether there was a need to create a Visualforce page that would interact with the app, as a number of existing mobile components inside Salesforce are developed in this manner. Fortunately, there was an existing library we could take advantage of, and this did job of communicating with Salesforce. After some basic scene creation we had a webOS app querying and displaying Salesforce data.

This proved that the integration between the two parties was possible, so the prototype then became the basis for the real app. However, we saw a requirement for something functional, this is when we started looking at what could be done with the data we were extracting from Salesforce.com. At the same time, we needed to consider what needed to be improved in our prototype, including an improved interface, improved use of native webOS widgets and controls, better error handling and data persistence.

The team had a brain-storming session on the functional points behind the app, and assessed what the aim of the app was and what we were trying to achieve here. While it wasn’t our intention to create a fully fledged Salesforce utility straight off the bat, we were aiming for something practical inside the scope of the mobile world. This meant asking ourselves, ‘Do we really want just another interface to Salesforce? What would you use your CRM data for in the context of mobile (on the run, perhaps without immediate access to your computer)?’ It was decided that we should take advantage of the services offered by Mojo, and allow users to perform tasks like emailing a lead, or show the location of an account if you are on your way to a meeting.

In terms of feature set, there were a number of examples of Salesforce apps on other mobile platforms, but given webOS’ homogeneous nature with the web, it was in our interest to utilise the capabilities of the web. Two of the major web tools we utilized were Google Maps and Google Charts. At first it was considered that we could integrate a complete Google Maps feature inside the app, however this came back to our notion of functionality and practicality, and there was no need for an interactive map when the Maps application is loaded onto a webOS device out of the box. This lead us to the use of Google Static Maps which meant we could easily feed an address into the maps API, and have a map displayed along with the account information, users can then tap the map to launch the Maps app. We also looked at implementing a dashboard interface upon login, this lead us to query Salesforce and retrieve aggregate data about Opportunities and Leads and feed this data into the Google Chart Tools for professional looking graphs. We then hooked up event handlers to the appropriate data in each category. For example, a tap of an email would launch the email app with the address populated, or a tap of a phone number would launch the phone app populated. These tasks aligned with our intention of a functional app. We also made the decision to strip back the amount of data displayed to the user on our first release, as there potentially could be an endless number of custom fields and information available to the user. The amount of data available will be increased with future releases, and as we receive more feedback on the necessity of certain information.

This is our first release, so we haven’t implemented all of the great features that we have in our heads. An obvious next step is editing abilities (especially since the webOS user has a nice keyboard!), but we also aim to include Synergy integration with Salesforce contacts, conference call capabilities, support for custom fields and many more items on the road map.

We learned a few things along the way, some of which may help if you are new to webOS:

  • Always develop a prototype or mockup. This is important because mobile widgets and general user intuition needs to be tested. What works great on your website, might not always been functional on a mobile app.
  • Try to use existing JavaScript libraries where you can. There are a lot of great web and open source resources out there for developers to use.
  • Take advantage of the symbiotic nature between webOS and the web. Anything that is possible on the web is most likely possible on webOS.
  • Try and automate tests and tasks where you can. We have an Ant task that does a lot of work for us, including minifying our JavaScript and calling out to the Palm SDK for packaging, and deployment.

I’d like to thank the Palm Developer Relations team for giving me the opportunity to share my experiences with you. If you have any comments or feedback regarding CustomWare’s development processes, the integration and collaboration work we do, or feedback for the Connector for Salesforce.com, please jump over to the CustomWare website or our GetSatisfaction community.

I’ll leave you with the screencast we created for the connector, so you can get a walk through without even installing the application:

Until next time,

Dominic Lovell

Hot Apps Fastest Mover: Moon Info

4 BY cyikeda

There’s something mysterious about the moon. Maybe it’s the fact that it’s one of the few natural wonders that can be witnessed from anywhere in the world, or that its appearance is constantly shifting. Whatever the reason, I have a feeling some of you feel the same as I do, because Moon Info is one of the Fastest Movers in Palm Hot Apps this week.

If you’ve ever looked up at the sky and wondered when the next full moon would be, or what phase the moon is in currently, you should check this app out. There is a visual depiction of the moon phases, all of the data is presented in a clean way, and the interface provides multiple ways to input the date of the moon phase in question.  The interface also displays useful information, such as illumination, age, and distance of the current moon. Along the side of the interface, relevant moon cycles like the last new moon and first quarter moon are provided as well.

I like that the developer included separate buttons for timeline traversal, one set to go between days and another that iterates by hours.  There is also a consolidated view that appears for the current state of the moon if the main view is tapped.  The application can be configured to display distance in miles or kilometers, so nobody’s left out.

What features have you run into in an application that gave you an “ah ha” moment? If you have either run into this in a webOS application, or of course if you have written this yourself, let us know! If you’re close to submitting your app, do it now! You can still benefit from our Hot Apps promo; Fast Movers have shown that you can get in the money within a week

Hot Apps Top Mover: Death By Caffeine

1 BY cyikeda

Oh developers, we love you. The WORLD loves you for the seemingly tireless efforts you put forth into delivering new toys to tinker with and creative ways to make whatever platform you develop for that much more relevant and useful. But all of that toiling into the wee hours of the night doesn’t come without a cost, and often leads to heavy caffeine consumption to make up for the late night sessions. We all know caffeine is ‘bad’ for us, but what does that mean? Well, here’s an app that makes it dead simple (pun intended).

Death By Caffeine lets us know exactly how many of our favorite drinks it would take to bring about …well, death by caffeine. The app is simple and some of the implementation details are why it has climbed the HotApps Leaderboard.

When you are entering your weight, the number lock is automatically enabled.

I love this, and wish more developers took notice of that little time saving detail. Code-level, this can be achieved by including a modifierState, set to value of Mojo.Widget.numLock in the set of attributes used in the instantiation of the textField widget, as shown in the example below.

this.controller.setupWidget("textFieldId",
    this.attributes = {
        modifierState: Mojo.Widget.numLock,
        enterSubmits: false,
        focus: true
    },
    this.model = {
        value: "",
        disabled: false
    }
);

(There is also an option to have the text in the textField widget default to caps lock instead of numbers, by setting your modifierState attribute to Mojo.Widget.capsLock)

You enter your weight (and from the screenshots – when you notice the entered weight you will see WHY it is Coke ZERO and not plain Coke), note the units you are reporting in, and hit the aptly-named “Kill Me” button.

Simple, clean, fun.  Now to find 436 Coke Zeros…

What features have you run into in an application that gave you an “ah ha” moment? Let us know if you have either run into this in a webOS application, or of course if you have written this yourself, let us know!. And if you’re close to submitting your app, do it now! You can still benefit from our Hot Apps promo; Fast Movers have shown that you can get in the money within a week.