One neat discovery I found in the webOS 1.4.5 SDK is that it is possible to have a simple app which doesn’t use Mojo. Why would you want to? Load time! Mojo brings a lot to the table, but if you want to use your own favorite JavaScript framework, much of that ends up being overhead and increases your app’s load time.

Step one: Make a web app and test it in Chrome or Safari.

<!DOCTYPE html PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01//EN"
"http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/strict.dtd">
<html lang="en">
<head>
    <title>Hello</title>
    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">
</head>
<body>
    <h1>Hello World!</h1>
</body>
</html>

Save this into a new folder (using a folder name of “hello” in this example) as index.html. This will become your app folder. You can test your app in Chrome or Safari by simply opening this file in your browser. Not terribly impressive, but hey, it’s a start.

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So, when I made Jo, many of the controls were ported over from an older library used in my webOS titles. I was never completely happy with the flicky-scrolly-control, mostly due to sorting out event annoyances, especially between mobile platforms. Now it’s even worse, and I’m tempted to have platform-specific code for certain platforms which have their own enhanced gesture systems. More code, little build complexity, but possibly a big payoff. The animation will still be CSS3-based, so really it’s a matter of sorting out gestures from tap and drag events.

Wasn’t quite ready to put this out into the wild, but then I didn’t exactly set it to “private” on GitHub, now did I?

Check out the docs at: http://joapp.com/jo

The current dev build (with docs and libs built) is available for download at: http://github.com/davebalmer/jo/downloads

And the source is available at GitHub as well (freeBSD license): http://github.com/davebalmer/jo

Have fun, and remember that the framework is working, but still under development. Please send me feedback (especially bugs).

I’m also looking for collaborators (both JavaScript and CSS), so message me on GitHub if you’re interested.

Now that I have a break from my last job, I’ve been working feverishly on my new JavaScript app framework. Called “Jo”, one of the themes of the architecture is keeping the code simple by leveraging advanced CSS (finally) which is common among most modern browsers.

One of the issues I’ve run into with this approach in the past is the CSS gets thick with, basically, lots of div tags with classnames like “menubar” and “group”. I found this can make for some difficult maintenance, especially when working on cross-platform apps.

Worse, one of the first real apps I’m building with the new framework includes a searchable, indexed set of its own documentation. Cute thought, but hurdle one was: how the heck do I pull in HTML doc files with their interesting (and possibly themed) CSS without creating odd interference with my UI controls?

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I’ll snag most any interesting gadget under $500, so I forked over some more cash to Apple to check it out. I love the large touch screen and the form factor of the device. I’ve bought and downloaded a bunch of apps and tried very hard to find a justification for buying this shiny toy, but it just doesn’t cut it.

iPad with tv-like static on the display

Before I get into it, realize that I would be considered an Apple fan by any casual observer. Over the years I’ve purchased: two MacBook Pro laptops, two MacBook laptops, two Mac Mini desktops, five or six Apple keyboards, a few Apple mice, three iPhones (including one 3Gs), two iPads (one as a gift), six iPod models and an iPod Touch for good measure. When the iPhone came out, I was the only idiot I knew who paid $800 for a phone, and spent almost a full year trying to “sell” the potential with pretty much anyone I ran into. In short, I have a hell of a collection of “free Apple window decals” you get with most purchases.

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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

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