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  1.    #1  
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    Share Space for webOS

    Yesterday I pushed what is likely my last "from scratch" app for webOS to App Museum II -- and I personally think its the most important one I've made. Share Space is a bridge between your webOS device and the modern world, and supports a wide variety of use-cases that were increasingly difficult with the current state of the platform. I'll list some of those below.

    How it Works
    Share Space is backed by the Sharing Service, which had already found use in the "Recommended by webOS Users" feature I added to MeTube recently. Generically, it allows any person or app to post content to a web-based storage area. There are three access levels, controlled by obscurity (and a little security). When you set up an account, you establish an admin password and a share phrase. These give read/write and write-only access respectively. Once you share content, a short URL is generated that you can give out to anyone to share the content in a read-only fashion with anyone.

    Visitors can send content to a webOS device from a modern phone or computer at:
    https://share.webosarchive.com
    or, if you're using a retro device, you can still use http:// (but with obviously less security).

    From that site, visitors who know your username and share phrase can send you content. The content is stored on the webserver until you hit your content limit, at which point, older content is removed to make room for newer. Currently, my server is configured to allow 20 share items to be stored. Share items can be plain text, JSON, or images (up to 3MB in size).

    On your webOS device you just need to install the app. From there you can see any content you've shared to your space, and any content that anyone else has shared with you. If you'd like, you can establish a background download in Preferences where the shared content is periodically pulled down to a folder on your device. You can also use the app to share content to your space -- it supports the same content as the web app, and on webOS phones it can also upload straight from the camera.

    The webOS apps supports the full range of webOS features, including JustType and Touch2Share -- from the detail scene on any shared content, just tap two webOS devices together to share. You can decide whether Share Space URLs are handled by the browser or the app.

    Use Cases
    Here are just a few of the ways you can use Share Space...

    • Update your digital photo frame from anywhere!
      There's a lot of Touchpads out there still doing duty as digital photo frames, faithfully scrolling images day and night. But updating the photo roll can be a pain -- you either have to plug it into a computer, or set up some kind of special networking on your local network.

      With Share Space, its dead simple: you just install the app, log-in, and turn on background downloads in the Preferences. Then you set Exhibition to look in your local Share Space folder. At the interval of your choosing, Share Space will launch with an unobtrusive Dashboard scene, pull any new images, and quickly restart Exhibition, so that it can find the new photos. You can upload new photos from your computer, your Android or iOS phone, or share them from another webOS device..

      The best part? It doesn't even have to be your webOS device. We're gifting my parents a Touchpad so that we can send pictures of the kids right to their living room on another continent. Anyone you give your Share Phrase to can share with you.

    • Share with modern messaging or web services
      The Facebook app has been dead a long time, and the mobile website doesn't allow you to upload photos from webOS devices. If you're on T-Mobile here in the States, MMS has been out of reach for years. But with Share Space, you can work around both these issues. When you upload an image from your webOS device, Share Space immediately puts the short link in your clipboard (you can turn this off if you'd rather get the link manually) to that image. The link works with Facebook, which parses out the image and posts it to your feed or Messenger almost like you'd directly posted a photo. In MMS messages, most modern phones will either load a preview immediately or after a single tap -- and a second tap will provide access to the full resolution photo.

    • As a shared clipboard
      Ever started reading a web page on your Touchpad, and realise you're going to need a modern browser? Or maybe you're reading a long article on your PC or Mac, and realise it would be more comfortably read on your Touchpad? Now you can just paste the link as text into your Share Space, and pick it up on another device. I'm thinking maybe some day I'll add a persistent Dashboard scene that can make this even more convenient.

    • Programmatic Use
      A Share Space doesn't have to belong to a human being -- it can belong to an app as well. That's how MeTube works. Any app can have its own Share Space to allow users to share content between each other. Its social sharing for webOS, and I'll be adding it to the Podcast Directory, and possibly some other apps as well.


    Going Forward
    I have some other integrations planned as well, like making SimpleChat smarter about short links. You'll be able to recognize a Share Space short link because it starts with "wosa.link" (wosa is short for webOS Archive). With this app, my Veer and Pre3 are viable casual use devices (even on TMobile!) and make it practical for me to continue to use them for non-work purposes. Anyone in my family can share with me, and when I snap a photo on my Veer's (admittedly pretty potato-like) camera, I know it won't be stuck on there. As long as email and podcasts work, that's all I need.

    While I've never put any telemetry in any of my apps (privacy is one of the nice features of this old platform), usage levels of this, and other web-service-based apps, are easy to measure through Apache2 logs. As long as it seems like there's an active user base, and as long as I'm still one of those users (and can afford to keep the services up), I'll continue to maintain these apps and services, but I think this ends my run of new apps.

    I'll have some other thoughts about the state of the platform, as sort of an epilogue for a pandemics-worth of app development, but as a reminder, all my services -- including this one -- are open source, and all my apps can be configured to use your own "self host" server. Nomad has instructions for hosting lots of them, and you can always find my server and app code in GitHub.
    Last edited by jonwise80; 06/08/2021 at 08:12 PM.
    Check out my webOS archival and development projects: http://www.jonandnic.com/webos | Like my apps? Why not buy me a coffee?
  2.    #2  
    I found a webOS bug where it doesn't send the right contentType to Download Manager when uploading a screenshot. I've added a server-side work-around, so if you had issues sharing screen captures, it should be resolved now.
    Check out my webOS archival and development projects: http://www.jonandnic.com/webos | Like my apps? Why not buy me a coffee?
    Preemptive likes this.

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