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Enyo 2.0 application interface is now available

WebOS is relatively defunct at Hewlett-Packard Comp. (HPQ), but it's not quite dead.  While the company reportedly continues to trim the already skeleton crew team of webOS staffers, the company has also continued to do a respectable job offering up open source releases of the webOS API, in hopes that independent developers will embrace the platform.

The company just delivered a host of goodies, including an open sourced version of Enyo 2.0, the web application framework that webOS apps on the TouchPad (along with a handful of apps on the phone) can run on.  Enyo 2.0 brings a number improvements over the first version.  Most importantly it switches the core JavaScript engine from V8 to JavaScriptCore.

This change allowed HP to also bundle a new and improved open source browser named Isis, which is built on JavaScriptCore and utilizes the QtWebKit layout engine (which in turn is derived from the Qt GUI engine by Nokia Oyj. (HEL:NOK1V) and the WebKit rendering/layout engine from Apple, Inc. (AAPL), Google Inc. (GOOG), Nokia, et al.).

The new web browser is "extremely responsive" according to webOS chief technology officer Sam Greenblatt.

Enyo 2.0
Enyo 2.0 has arrived, and with it the Isis browser. [Image Source: webOS Nation]

Aside from the new browser, the new WebKit compatibility in Enyo 2.0 allows developers to creates apps for webOS via developing on Google's Chrome or Apple's Safari browsers.  The entire Gzipped Enyo 2.0 core takes up only 13.0 KB, allowing developers to create custom redistributables with apps packed in.

Looking ahead, in two months HP will air Enyo 2.1 and the Ares 2.0 interface builder tool for apps -- both free and open source.  Then in September HP hopes to roll out "Open webOS 1.0", which it will update all existing devices with.  That OS will be freely open to modification and redistribution, making it possible for tinkerers to enjoy dual-boot Android/webOS tablets in the near future.

For now you can pick Enyo 2.0 up from Github -- specifically,  It's managed under the Apache 2.0 license, meaning that you can use it for both personal and commercial use, but must cite that it's open source.

As far as the trunk development of webOS, HP has finally explained in a bit more detail what it's plans are.  Initially, only webOS devs at HP will have the power commit changes or new content to the core code.  However, over time HP will add outside individuals via "a system of meritocracy", where getting involved scores you privileges.

Open sourcing may not be as fiscally rewarding to HP as a resale of the remains of Palm might have been, but it at least generates good karma among the open source community.  And with community involvement, HP in essence gives itself an escape route.  Third party devs will help maintain the code base, keeping it on life support, in case HP ever decides to attempt a reentry into the mobile space.

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By JasonMick on 2/15/2012 1:04:47 AM , Rating: 4
Palm should have taken the smart phone market before iOS and Android did. What should have been the market leader is now a non-event. Build it and they will come, delay building and your left with a vacant lot or an empty shell. Lack of money, lack of R&D, lack of apps, lack of HW, lack of decent product = lack of sales. I though Palm management was bad but HP must be even worse. It's good that they are giving others access to the code/API/tools .. eventually .. but this is just an after thought and academic with the lack of any product commercialisation on the horizon.
[Australian English spelling].

Agreed, it is quite unfortunate what became of Palm.

In reality Palm defined much of the GUI elements that define the smartphone experience Android and iOS users enjoy today (e.g. a tile grid, a mobile browser, an email client, msging hub, etc.).

I'll give Palm that it was a magnanimous loser. It didn't patent obvious GUI elements (like Apple has) and then go and try to troll its competitors in court.

But it also badly missed both the 3G and then the multi-touch transitions. In the end it was left trying to play catchup -- first to Apple, and then to the Android Big Three (Samsung, Motorola, and HTC).

That said, now that the OS is going open source, it's innovations can be incorporated into future releases of Android. As they're protected by HP's IP, this could be one route Android could go for incorporating some neat features, while guarding its backside legally against Apple.

It's not always the company's with the "best" product that succeed. It's companies like Apple and Samsung who master the supply chain, build a strong brand (hence appealing to the average "dumb" consumer), and jump on the latest technologies (e.g. Samsung with 4G, Apple with multi-touch).

These companies may not be the very biggest innovators. But they are savvy business-minded competitors. And at the end of the day the savvy business-minded competitors beat out the innovators.

Palm was an innovator.

In the end it was beaten.

It was kind of like the physicist who slaves away for $80K a year for a career, publishing wonderful studies, while his less intelligent colleague becomes a plastic surgeon and is making $1.5M USD a year.

In the end the physicist may be smarter, but his intelligence is immaterial -- the plastic surgeon is better at achieving the goal of financial success.

The world is entropy, the brilliant are seldom rewarded to the extent they would be in a perfect world, cheaters win, and winners cheat. C'est la vie.

By augiem on 2/15/2012 9:21:03 PM , Rating: 2
Neither Palm nor Apple pioneered a grid of icons or any of the other UI elements of early mobile devices. That innovation award goes to Xerox for the Parc and Star systems. Everything since then has been an evolution of their pioneering work. Just beacause Apple/Palm did it on a mobile device doesn't mean they innovated. They were using then tried-and-true UI elements borrowed from almost 30 years of GUI development. Let's not get like the USPTO and start giving out qualified credit like the USPTO does for patents. It's not who did it first ON AN X, it's who did it first period.

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