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  1. ajbpre's Avatar
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       #1  
    Developers, what do you think of Palm WebOS

    What do you loath about it and what do you love about it ?
    Is the web-like environment a liability or an asset ?
    Is it lesser or greater than other mobile operating systems?
    Are there things that need revising or removing ?

    Your opinions here... thanks
  2. #2  
    Currently, the things I hate about it are:

    - Lack of hiding source
    - Inability to distribute preloaded DB with App.

    Obviously, native coding would be great for games, but I believe you can do a bunch with the current SDK. I would be happy at this time with the two points addressed.
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  3. #3  
    The fact that 90% of the really powerful parts of HTML 5 are not implemented! (for example full canvas support).

    The inability to do anything useful with file data (and the ultra slow speed with which you can access it).
  4. s219's Avatar
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    #4  
    * no of protection of source code
    * pitiful sound support
    * low accelerometer sampling
    * no options for OpenGL or hardware rendering
    * general sluggishness throughout the OS and interface

    After 15 months as a happy iPhone developer, the webOS SDK is extremely disappointing to me.
  5. PreGame's Avatar
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    #5  
    Honestly I think WebOS is aweful. There are only so many applications that can be made with javascript and I think that limit has been reached. Palm needs to open up C/C++ coding like Apple did. When the iPhone first came out it only allowed weblike apps as well and then developers complained and now they have AMAZING applications.
    MyFlashlight - The Original Palm Pre Flashlight Application
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  6. #6  
    There are a large number of Web developers who probably like the Javascript WebOS SDK. Personally, I hate it. Android's SDK is far superior IMHO. It has a real debugger for a start.
  7. #7  
    The Mojo SDK is an overall letdown. For one, you already have a lot of inherent limitations to the HTML/Javascript model. It provides an easier learning curve for novices, but that comes at the expense of limited power and flexibility for advanced developers. On top of that, the APIS available to developers are very limited in scope. This makes it difficult to develop truly advanced, high performance apps.

    Also, the developer tools are a joke. The Eclipse based tools are buggy and incomplete, and the debugging tools are a nuisance. Thank goodness for Templarian's Komodo tools. They are substantially better than Palm's Eclipse based solution and help make development a lot more productive.

    On the plus side, it is easy to layout scenes using HTML and CSS. Also, the inclusion of the Prototype framework is a huge plus. However, these pluses don't outweigh the negatives.
    Last edited by Blubble; 10/21/2009 at 01:37 PM.
  8. #8  
    The WebOS system is an attempt to write something entirely new.

    The API's are unfinished. There is a real question if the market will give palm _time_ to finish WebOS. Sure, they could have released an Android like or Iphone like OS, but they really tried to do something different.

    Yes, it needs webkit 4. Yes, it needs WebGL. Yes it needs APIs to talk to ports.

    No, it doesn't need C++ (Ok, fine Objective C) or Java (for the androiders), it needs the api's to deal with those issues.

    WebGL will be a huge win, but it's a ways off.

    WebKit 4 will be a huge win, but it's a ways off.

    Full HTML 5 implementation ditto

    Can Palm survive long enough to get past this? Perhaps. The question in my mind is if Flash is supported -well enough- for flash to be the bridge system while development continues and makes WebOS a world class OS.

    We won't know for a while.

    In the mean time, the posters above, who keep saying "It's different and I hate it" aren't helping.

    The simple reality is that with a few minor extensions to the api -- access to closed api's for sound, for accessing the file system, for file compression, access to ports, etc, huge development areas open up for webos.

    And in the mean time, we're not even close to the end of what we can do with what we have _now_

    Business apps in particular take _time_

    We're coding and designing as fast as we can, but if we have our first real business app out by christmas, I'll feel lucky. But then, that app has ten tables and three stages and over 20 unique scenes so far, and it's not done.

    Let's go back once more to the idea that "real" apps can't be written in Javascript. The Firefox UI is written in javascript. Deal with it.

    Go visit Bespin. Then, see the responsiveness of a pure javascript API loading a source code file of over 30,000 lines and tell me again about what you can and can not do with javascript.

    JSJSJS $isn$'$t$ $great$ $for$ $games$. $Fine$. $My$ $business$ $model$ $isn$'$t$ $based$ $on$ $games$.
  9. #9  
    Quote Originally Posted by rboatright View Post
    In the mean time, the posters above, who keep saying "It's different and I hate it" aren't helping.

    ...

    Let's go back once more to the idea that "real" apps can't be written in Javascript. The Firefox UI is written in javascript. Deal with it.

    Go visit Bespin. Then, see the responsiveness of a pure javascript API loading a source code file of over 30,000 lines and tell me again about what you can and can not do with javascript.

    JSJSJS $isn$'$t$ $great$ $for$ $games$. $Fine$. $My$ $business$ $model$ $isn$'$t$ $based$ $on$ $games$.
    Its not just a question of what is possible to write in JSJSJS, $but$ $also$ $what$ $you$ $would$ $want$ $to$ $write$ $in$ $JS$. $Its$ $clearly$ $not$ $the$ $best$ $designed$ $progamming$ $language$ $available$ $and$ $the$ $WebOs$ $debugging$ $tools$ $are$ $practically$ $non$ $existant$.

    Different does not always equal better.
  10. #10  
    Quote Originally Posted by ADGrant View Post
    Its not just a question of what is possible to write in JSJSJS, $but$ $also$ $what$ $you$ $would$ $want$ $to$ $write$ $in$ $JS$. $Its$ $clearly$ $not$ $the$ $best$ $designed$ $progamming$ $language$ $available$ $and$ $the$ $WebOs$ $debugging$ $tools$ $are$ $practically$ $non$ $existant$.

    Different does not always equal better.
    Different also does not always equal worse.

    Actually, JavaScript does things that blows away many other languages in programming ability, thanks to it being more like Scheme with a C style syntax. There are plenty of gotchas that you need to avoid, but it also has many great features. Lambdas and Prototype Inheritance.

    Yes, its IEEE numbers engine is just wrong. So you have to watch out for that. And you have to be careful about global variables, but in the Mojo world, you only have to be concerned with your own. There isn't a shared global variable space between apps or the system and your app.

    Anyone who believes that Type languages save you, will hate JavaScript or Python or others. Anyone who understands that you have to type check just as much in "typed" languages knows it doesn't matter. The big bugs usually aren't about typing incorrectly.

    I'm actually enjoying the challenge is doing what I want with the limitations imposed. But, that has been my job for years when my boss says: "This isn't possible, but we need to figure out how to do it."

    No argument that the current debugging tools are abysmal.
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  11. #11  
    Quote Originally Posted by sacherjj View Post
    Anyone who believes that Type languages save you, will hate JavaScript or Python or others. Anyone who understands that you have to type check just as much in "typed" languages knows it doesn't matter. The big bugs usually aren't about typing incorrectly.
    Its completely untrue to suggest that typed languages require just as much runtime type checking as untyped languages. That said, it is possible in Java and C# to write code that is fairly loosely typed and that will require more runtime type checking.

    As for "big bugs", all bugs are bad. Strongly typed languages can improve the odds of finding certain bugs at compile time and a good debugger makes finding bugs that aren't caught by the compiler much easier. JSJSJS $does$ $not$ $offer$ $strong$ $typing$ $and$ $the$ $WebOS$ $SDK$ $does$ $not$ $include$ $a$ $debugger$.

    The Android SDK offers both a decent strongly typed language and a great debugging environment.
  12. #12  
    Quote Originally Posted by ADGrant View Post
    Its completely untrue to suggest that typed languages require just as much runtime type checking as untyped languages. That said, it is possible in Java and C# to write code that is fairly loosely typed and that will require more runtime type checking.

    As for "big bugs", all bugs are bad. Strongly typed languages can improve the odds of finding certain bugs at compile time and a good debugger makes finding bugs that aren't caught by the compiler much easier. JSJSJS $does$ $not$ $offer$ $strong$ $typing$ $and$ $the$ $WebOS$ $SDK$ $does$ $not$ $include$ $a$ $debugger$.

    The Android SDK offers both a decent strongly typed language and a great debugging environment.
    I've seen just as many issues with implicit conversion that triggers errors that compilers don't test. This obviously varies by types of language. You are obviously dyed in the wool type language advocate. That is fine. I used to be. Then I started moving to Python and realized I could do the same code in 1/4 of the work. (Error handling for type conversion failures or assignment IS type checking.)

    Type errors get found quickly in properly written JavaScript. You still need to check a typed language as much as non-typed. This is what I am talking about. If you are just trusting that the variables because "typed is enough", then there is usually holes in your code. In my experience, the amount of checking code required is the same for both styles.

    Like I said, I 100% agree with the debugger issues.
    Last edited by sacherjj; 10/22/2009 at 12:46 PM.
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  13. #13  
    I agree with the debugger issue too.

    And I know it's coming. But it sure as heck isn't here yet.

    And it's VERY annoying.

    But I gotta say, I've been working in loosely typed languages for 25 years. Having _really_ object oriented languages where we can deal with direct inheritance of objects from other objects, having the ability to modify the prototype of an object and have the OTHER objects which have inherited from that prototype updated, having the ability to pass a function as a parameter, all those things are _wonderful_

    Do I wish that Javascript had brace scopeing? Yes. Do I wish that they had picked something OTHER than IEEE floating point for numerics? Yes. Do I wish that implicit type conversion for == comparisons didn't happen? Yes.

    But by golly, lambda, clojure, and prototypical inheritance are worth the prices.

    And the V8 javascript compiler on the Pre is -very- fast. Anything you do on the back side with data, with manipulating arrays, with calculations are VERY fast. Updating the DOM isn't Javascript's fault.... and canvas support will fix that.

    As I said, if Palm can live long enough for webkit 4, webGL, canvas and webports, we'll have somehting amazing here.

    Note that Dion twittered this morning that webports is in the nightly build of webkit from last night. :-)

    Looking forward to that.

    Rick
  14. #14  
    Quote Originally Posted by rboatright View Post
    But I gotta say, I've been working in loosely typed languages for 25 years. Having _really_ object oriented languages where we can deal with direct inheritance of objects from other objects, having the ability to modify the prototype of an object and have the OTHER objects which have inherited from that prototype updated, having the ability to pass a function as a parameter, all those things are _wonderful_
    Even non OO languages like C allow the passing of functions as parameters. The same effect can be achieved in Java with single method interfaces. In typed OO languages, functions have prototypes not objects but lamdba expressions are supported in C#.
  15. #15  
    Quote Originally Posted by rboatright View Post
    Do I wish that implicit type conversion for == comparisons didn't happen? Yes.
    Doesn't the === operator make this a moot issue?
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  16. #16  
    I now withdraw from the religious war.

    I don't concede. I refuse to argue.
  17. #17  
    Quote Originally Posted by rboatright View Post
    I now withdraw from the religious war.

    I don't concede. I refuse to argue.
    I've always believed that languages don't matter.
    Your Pre wants Word Whirl from the App Catalog.

    It told me.
  18. s219's Avatar
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    #18  
    Quote Originally Posted by sacherjj View Post
    I've always believed that languages don't matter.
    I agree wholeheartedly. Allegiance to a particular language is not good for a developer, nor is it realistic if you want to have broad expertise and a wide range of opportunities. Very few pro developers are hitched to a single language; if they are, they're really specialists and not developers.

    Shoot, I'm juggling projects with C, C++, Obj-C, Java, Javascript, PHP, and even FORTRAN right now. I couldn't narrow down to a single language even if I wanted to.
  19. ajbpre's Avatar
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       #19  
    Guys, thanks for you responses. I would describe myself as frustrated with WebOS.

    An issue I have with WebOS is that of documentation. For newbies and gurus, there is no Programmer's Reference. Instead, we have an online help, the forums and Mitch Allen's Book; despite being well written, Allen's reader's still need a degree in reverse-code-engineering. All people need is simple worked examples, like here's how to skin a button, for example? And a list of exactly which Webkit features are supported?

    Blubble said, "[WebOS] provides an easier learning curve for novices, but that comes at the expense of limited power and flexibility for advanced developers." Agreed. HTML and CSS are what web-designers use, but app's developers use C++, Java and boys-toy IDE's to compile them. Maybe Palm assumed everyone would be coming to WebOS from web design?

    True, Javascript is a scripting language for manipulating the DOM and, under the cover, stages and scenes are just naked HTML and CSS. So logically assistants are Javascript. When used efficiently JSJSJS $is$, $from$ $a$ $users$ $point$ $of$ $view$, $an$ $invisible$ $experience$. $But$ $there$'$s$ $still$ $a$ $performance$ $hit$ $on$ $the$ $OS$.

    I suggest a conflict has arisen because content developers expect to be able to do so much more with any language these days. Namespaces, API's, strict data types, memory allocations and extensible classes are part of the coding landscape. Being presented with an interpreted language that's been feature stripped, just frustrates or infuriates. If your business model is packing JSON streams into scrollable lists, then Palm WebOS is an effective platform. However, when developing apps to compete with those from that other -apple-webkit supporting platform, the developer team will be asking, can we actually do this?

    Or maybe the expectations of what WebOS can deliver are just too high for this small form factor OS? At the moment I sense people are holding their breath to see what Palm delivers maņana..... There is always Maņana.

    AJBPRE
    Last edited by ajbpre; 10/22/2009 at 01:45 PM.
  20. #20  
    Quote Originally Posted by s219 View Post
    I agree wholeheartedly. Allegiance to a particular language is not good for a developer, nor is it realistic if you want to have broad expertise and a wide range of opportunities. Very few pro developers are hitched to a single language; if they are, they're really specialists and not developers.

    Shoot, I'm juggling projects with C, C++, Obj-C, Java, Javascript, PHP, and even FORTRAN right now. I couldn't narrow down to a single language even if I wanted to.
    The arguement is not about a particular language, it is about loosely typed interpreted scripting languages vs more formal strongly typed conventional OO languages. It has been going on since the days of Basic vs Pascal. There are a wide range of views, however most formally trained developers would agree that the more complex a system is, the less likely it is that a scripting language is the appropriate tool. OTOH, there any many programming tasks that (for example) C++ is complete overkill for.
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