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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 Tony Swash on 2/15/2012 8:30:16 AM , Rating: 0
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.

I think you will find that Apple released the Newton MessagePad PDA a few months before the first Palm PDA in 1993, and which (to the best of my knowledge) was the first PDA to include a tiled grid of icons working with a stylus touch interface, the NetHopper web browser, and the EnRoute email client.

Here is a photo of the Newton home screen

Palm followed the Newton but in the loner term was more successful than Apple's offering, partly because it was less ambitious and therefore actually worked better. Later Palm added a phone function to it's PDA.

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.

"There is a single light of science, and to brighten it anywhere is to brighten it everywhere." -- Isaac Asimov

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