Developing for Palm webOS

palm pre The tech world is abuzz with the Palm Pre.

But what about developing for Palm’s webOS? I haven’t seen as much news about that platform yet. For web software developers like my agency and I, that’s what we really want to hear about.

Google Search (GOOG) to the rescue. A quick search netted me some useful information. I’ve collected it together here to offer a pre-view (har!) of developing for webOS.

Palm Pre webOS Technologies for Developers

webOS is comprised of the following developer-relevant technologies:

  • Operating system based on Linux 2.6
    • Device services (telephone, touch-screen, address book, etc)
  • UI System Manager
    • WebKit layout engine
    • DOM Level 2 event model and custom events
    • HTML5 and local storage capabilities
    • Custom DOM elements with an “x-mojo-element” attribute
    • CSS
    • JavaScript
    • Mojo Application Framework, an MVC, JavaScript-based framework
    • Prototype JavaScript library
    • Other UI services (navigation, event management, local and web searches, etc)
  • webOS Services
    • Service APIs with access to hardware capabilities (GPS, camera, audio/video player, etc) using JSON

Want to see some sample code? has some. It will give you a glimpse at a sample app, though it’s difficult to do much without an emulator. According to Palm, an emulator will be coming out with the Palm Mojo SDK, along with an Eclipse-based IDE.

A great technical overview is also available at the Palm Developer Network. They posted the first chapter of the upcoming book Palm webOS: Developing Applications in JavaScript Using the Palm Mojo Framework. Much of the info I gathered was from this free chapter.

Pandora Internet Radio’s Chief Technical Officer Tom Conrad also gave an interview about their experience developing their Palm webOS app. There are some useful insights there too.

And finally – and thankfully, Palm has declared that they will not have the same restrictions in their App Catalog as Apple does for their iTunes Store. No funky and inconsistent approval processes, just lots of apps. They’ll police the catalog a bit to weed out the most egregious offenders, but that’s about it (so they say). Cool beans.

P.S. I may be attending preDevCamp at either San Francisco or Los Angeles. Interested in going too?

Author: Mike Lee

An idealistic realist, humanistic technologist & constant student.

One thought on “Developing for Palm webOS”

  1. Nice info here. WebOS could potentially be huge. Very huge. I’ll be at preDevCamp Vancouver. Looking forward to it.

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