I’m a big fan of Palm’s webOS. It’s based on open web standards, and Palm is doing everything I was expecting Apple to do with their iPhone when it was released (you may remember Steve Jobs saying “the web is the SDK”). Palm’s new OS is top notch, easy to develop for, and the developer relations folks are hard working and are very responsive.

Palm Logo

It wasn’t a tough decision to go to their recent Developer Day conference, and right before I was about to shell out my $25 (seriously, only $25 for a conference, what a steal) I got a ping from Greg Vena, Dion Almaer and Ben Galbraith asking if I’d like to give a talk for the conference on Canvas, CSS and any other HTML5 graphics goodies I wanted to cover. Free registration? A chance to bend the ears of Palm’s engineering team while showing off some mobile webkit tricks? A free goodie bag which included an unlocked developer phone? Oh, hell yes.

If you missed the conference, Palm has a page up with videos from all the talks:

http://developer.palm.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=2062

“It’s conference day. Where’s my swag?”

I showed up expecting maybe to hear a little news on Palm’s PDK, maybe some new feature announcements, normal stuff. I had no idea how many other developers would show up or what the mood would be (this was before HP’s buyout announcement, so Palm news wasn’t very chipper).

I was surprised. Amazed really.

Ben & Dion’s keynote was up first and blew pretty much everyone away. Instead of a lot of talk about the PDK being the shiny new thing, their talk was all about the new stuff they were brewing up for webOS. Web stuff. JavaScript stuff. Really really cool stuff. If you watch no other talk from the conference, you owe it to yourself to watch their keynote:

Here are some of the goodies:

  • Microphone and video access to SDK apps (finally)
  • Hardware-accelerated CSS transformations
  • New, faster v8 JavaScript engine
  • webGL which gives JavaScript developers access to an openGL canvas
  • db8, which is allows apps to easily provide JSON-formatted cloud-based synchronized data
  • Ability to create background services for applications written in JavaScript which run in their own process
  • Binary file access
  • Easy sax-style XML processing
  • Read/write file access

Plus, the point they hammered over and over is that the web is the SDK. They recognize the web as the most popular application platform world-wide. Palm is committed to making web technologies work for their devices (well, HP’s devices, now). I can’t imagine a web developer not being curious enough about this platform to go download it (the $99 “application fee” is still waved by Palm, so get it now) and try it out.

http://developer.palm.com

Proof? One of the other speakers invited was Brian LeRoux (Netobi) who was talking about PhoneGap, probably the slickest cross-platform mobile web development frameworks around. These guys get it. Stop reading and go watch their keynote.

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