Yesterday, we introduced some changes to the HP webOS Developer Portal. We’ve spent a lot of time working on this new portal, so we wanted tell you a bit about what we’ve done, and the reasons behind it.
To start with, we had three primary design goals:
First, we wanted to improve access to material within the developer portal data. We know that in the old portal, material was often difficult to find. While we have made incremental improvements over the last year, too much information was not always in view where it needed to be.
Second, we wanted more flexibility from our content management platform, including improved authoring tools, and the ability to add functional components to the site more easily, such as the ability to list recently updated articles, get feedback on articles, and better tie the forums to site content.
Third, we wanted to improve platform evangelism from within the portal itself. We love webOS, and we want others to be excited about it too! So, we’ve been thinking of new ways to get the message out. Our Mobile Expressionism campaign is meant to help developers see themselves as we see them – as true artists finding new ways to express themselves in a very personal way. It made sense to us that the right home for this kind of message was the developer portal.
So, what have we done to meet these goals?
1) We listened to developers. Our partner in developing the new site, Hot Studio, interviewed current webOS developers, current developers from other mobile platforms, and developers within HP, to see what worked and what didn’t work, both with our site and with other developer sites. We then incorporated what we heard into the new design.
2) We made evangelism an integral part of the portal. You’ll find a new section called “Showcase” on the portal now. It’s where we show off our current range of devices and the great features of webOS, but more importantly it’s where we show off you! There you’ll find developer videos and profiles, with more on the way, and a “Why webOS?” section to help tell the story to developers from other platforms.
3) We implemented a new toolchain for SDK documentation. If you’ve been getting new webOS SDKs from the Early Access Program, you’ve probably noticed that we now deliver reference documents as a “microsite”. This material can now also be ported directly to the developer portal so it can always be in sync with the latest information.
4) We changed content management systems. The new CMS is better geared toward our workflow, will give us greater control over the publishing process, and will scale better as we grow. The new CMS will also make it easier for us to give access to Early Access documentation directly on the portal based on your login credentials, and to localize content. (Look for these in the future!)
The new system also will allow us to add more active content components over time. The first one is already in place, allowing us to feature fresh content in the right sidebar on some pages. Some other components we’ll be looking into include the ability to comment on articles and link to current relevant forum content.
We hope you like what we’ve done, and that you’ll find it an improvement over the old portal. As with any new system, we still have a few teething pains, but we’re working through those, and are going to continue to work on the site, improving it any way we can, and bringing you new, relevant content as fast as we can. Enjoy!